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J. Harrison Shares Photos Of Rescued Cuban Migrants While Aboard Pittsburgh Cruise

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A "Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise" ship rescued 16 Cuban migrants who were found on a makeshift raft in the Gulf of Mexico Saturday afternoon.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison posted pictures on Instagram, showing the ships. His agent Bill Parise told KDKA that he snapped the pictures from his estate room.

Harrison also tweeted: "We just stopped for this boat with 16 people in the middle of the ocean. Waiting for coast guard..." he said. "16ppl, wild!!! @ Gulf of Mexico."

A spokesperson with Carnival says the Carnival Sensation found 15 men and one woman about 50 miles north of Cuba.

Bill Parise said the rescue was incredible to witness.

"Approximately 7 o'clock this morning, my wife says what is that out there? We start looking. As it got closer we saw it was a raft," Parise said. "There was a beautiful rainbow over top of them. You kind of feel that God must have a plan.  I was quite at peace with it and I think everyone else was too.  Excited that they were rescued.  I don't think the outcome would have been very good," he said.

Freelance photographer for the Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise Dan Speicher, sent KDKA incredible pictures of the rescue.

Migrant rescue
Photo: Dan Speicher
Migrant Rescue
Photo: Dan Speicher

"The security from Carnival went out around and circled around them a number of times to make sure everything was okay," Speicher said.  "They'd been out there 14 days according to the crew.  The past four days they hadn't had any food. For the past two days, they hadn't had any water."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the US Coast Guard in Miami, which said that it was not involved in any rescue effort, made clear that Mr. Harrison was merely a photographer, played no role in the rescue and would likely not mingle with the migrants.

"There was a football player that was aboard the cruise ship who took some really good photos, but he wasn't involved in the actual rescue. The Carnival cruise ship would never allow a passenger to engage with the migrants," Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said today.

He added that the migrants will be dropped off at immigration at the ship's next port of call, which is Cozumel, Mexico.

The "Legends of Pittsburgh Cruise" set sail from Miami on Thursday. The event allows guests to mingle with professional athletes while they soak up the sun.

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