By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Coast Guard rescued 176 Haitians who were attempting to reach the US in an unseaworthy vessel, according to officials.
The operation occurred late Monday after the US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations spotted the 60-foot wooden boat roughly 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Bahamas, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
“It is extremely dangerous to navigate the Florida Straits in an unseaworthy vessel, especially off the Florida Keys where the water is extra treacherous with shoals and reefs,” said Chief Warrant Officer James Kinney.
“Thanks to the quick coordination among so many different agencies, no lives were lost during this interdiction," he added.
Those rescued were given food and water but 10 had to be taken to a hospital for dehydration treatment, the Hill online news website reported.
The number of Haitians who have had to be rescued in the first three months of the current fiscal year has sharply risen amid ongoing instability in Haiti.
Already, 557 people have reportedly been rescued, compared to 1,527 who were rescued in the entire previous fiscal year.