Two people are dead, eight were rescued and 10 others are missing after a boat traveling from Cuba overturned near the Florida Keys, the Coast Guard says. It responded to an area some 16 miles south of Key West, Florida around 1 p.m. Thursday after crews on routine patrol spotted multiple people in the water, according to the agency.
Crews rescued eight people and pulled two bodies from the water, Petty Officer Jose Hernandez said.
The Coast Guard said Friday morning that air and sea assets searched throughout the night and will continue to do so throughout the day.
Two Coast Guard cutters and several small boats continued to search the area Thursday evening for the missing passengers, Hernandez said. There was no immediate sign of the overturned boat.
"We will continue to search through the night for those reported missing, and if any mariners see or hear anything, to render assistance if possible and contact the Coast Guard," said Key West command center supervisor Senior Chief Seth Haynes.
The survivors reported that they left Puerto de Mariel, Cuba, on Sunday and the boat capsized Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard said in a statement. The survivors were transferred to a Coast Guard vessel to receive food, water and medical attention, according to officials.
A senior law enforcement official briefed on the rescue efforts and a second source told CBS Miami the people on board were migrants trying to make it to Florida.
The area where the boat overturned is almost directly north of Havana.
The senior law enforcement official told CBS Miami the two bodies were brought to Key West, where the Monroe County Sheriff's Department will lead the death investigation.
It wasn't clear whether the eight survivors would be repatriated to Cuba or brought to Florida as potential witnesses in a smuggling case.
The second source described the boat as a "Cuban Chug," an older style fishing boat with a single engine that's probably no more than 20 to 25 feet long.
The boat reportedly went down in about 700 feet of water.