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Cuba announces at least 5 dead after the crash of a boat heading for the United States

HAVANA — A boat off northern Cuba heading for the United States sank on Saturday after colliding with a Cuban Coast Guard vessel, and at least five people died, Cuban officials said Saturday.

The craft is said to have overturned after the accident near Bahía Honda, about two hours from the capital of Havana.

Among the five known dead were a minor and three women, while around two dozen people were rescued, state media Cubadebate said.

More details were not released, with Cuban officials telling the state broadcaster that an investigation was underway.

The incident comes amid the biggest migration flight from the Caribbean island in four decades, spurred by a deepening economic, political and energy crisis.

Cuba’s Interior Ministry blamed the United States, saying the deaths were “another consequence” of US policy towards Cuba, including the 60-year embargo.

Meanwhile, the United States sent its condolences to the families of those who died.

“As we expand safe and legal pathways for migration, we warn against dangerous and sometimes deadly attempts at irregular migration,” said a tweet from the US Embassy in Havana, which did not again resumed all operations on the island.

The vast majority of Cubans who leave fly to Nicaragua and then travel overland to the US border, often in Texas and Arizona.

But a growing number of people have fled by boat for the dangerous 90-mile journey to the south coast of the United States. Between October 2021 and August 2022, the US Coast Guard intercepted more than 4,600 Cubans traveling by boat, nearly six times more than in all of 2020.

It is the largest exodus since 1980, when around 125,000 Cubans traveled by sea to the United States for six months, known as the Mariel crisis.

ABC News

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