Travelers capture cruise ship rescuing stranded raft carrying Cubans
LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It was the last day of a seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise to the Caribbean for Desiree Stovall and her family, when she said something incredible happened. "The captain actually announced that they had spotted, a small raft with what looked like people in it," Stovall explained.
In cell phone video that she posted on YouTube, you can barely see the small raft among the swells of the ocean. “It was hard to see the raft, eventually we were able to see it as we got closer and came up closer to the raft and you could see the heads of people,” Stovall said.
She recorded the rescue from her state room balcony, showing the cruise ship's rescue boat carrying the people from that stranded raft to safety on the ship. “The biggest thing everybody was happy about was how heroic the rescue team was that went out in that water in that tiny little boat, to go pick up the people in the raft,” Stovall said.
As the boat got even closer to the ship her husband snapped photos of the rapid rescue at sea, she says the captain told them the stranded victims had come from Cuba and have been on the raft in the ocean for 10 days only surviving on water and crackers. "That's something that's amazing to see so it was pretty awesome," Stovall said.
The U.S. Coast Guard typically sends Cuban refugees back to Cuba after they get food and medical attention. We attempted to contact Royal Caribbean for comment, but we did not hear back.