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Family Of Cuban Migrants Excited To Be Reunited

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) --  A group of Cuban migrants and their dog made it to the shores of Miami Beach Tuesday.

With their feet firmly planted, they made that call home that everyone was waiting for.

"Tell her I'm here on American soil. I landed, I came. Don't ever forget that! I came," said one of the migrants while talking on the phone.

But it was not an easy journey. Carlos Garcia said he wasn't sure if they would make it.

"Six days of very bad weather.  We really  thought that we were going to die and God brought us over here. We saw the light," said Garcia in Spanish.

On board the small boat, the 12 people, 11 men and 1 woman, shared water and what little food they had.

"Yesterday, all the food ran out.  May God help us.  We saw the light and we followed the light, followed and followed and followed.  God accompanied us over here," said Garcia.

With a prayer when they hit the shore, the group was met with hugs and kindness.  One of the migrants could be seen wrapped in an American flag.  A CBS4 viewer shot video of the group as they landed on Miami Beach. Watch that video here.

Chopper4 was over the scene as their makeshift sailboat was seen washed up on shore near 17th Street and Collins Avenue just after 12 p.m.

Migrants Ashore Miami Beach 9/15/15
A group of migrants washed up on the shore of Miami Beach on Sept. 15, 2015. (Source: CBS4)

Once ashore, the Delano Hotel provided food and water to the migrant. People also gave them clothes and there was an unexpected gift too.

"The guy actually came out. He watched what was going on.  He found out what happened, the things they went thru and just gave everyone a hundred dollars and went back inside," said  witness Jerry Holmes.

Authorities were seen towing the group's  makeshift sailboat away from the beach just before 1 p.m.

 

Loved ones gathered at Church World Service in Doral Tuesday night to be reunited with the migrants.

"I was worried. There was bad weather. But she's out of danger now," Juan Carlos Garcia said about his daughter, Oliday, the only female on the trip.

He said she is 16 years old and left her young son back in Cuba with her mother.

"I hope, if she wants, she'll have a future here," he told CBS4's Lauren Pastrana.

Garcia said he made a similar journey four and a half months ago. He said he came ashore in Hollywood in May 1st.

"It's very emotional when you reach dry land and the ordeal is over," he explained.

He hopes he daughter can get an education in America.

 

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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