The crew of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship took an unexpected detour to rescue seven Cuban migrants after their small boat broke down.
The Majesty of the Seas was about 66 miles southwest of Key West, near Cuba, when it made the rescue on Sunday, according to the US Coast Guard.
Passenger Steven Tauber was about to get a milkshake with his 9-year-old son, Skyler, when a loudspeaker announcement explained what was happening.
“The captain said they had seen some small boat and they were going to investigate and rescue those people,” Tauber said.
Tauber and his son went to one of the ship’s top decks where hundreds of people were watching the rescue. His wife watched from their room.
Skyler shot video and took pictures while a small boat from the Majesty of the Seas raced out to tow the migrants’ craft to the safety of the ship.
“We were on the top and we could see a little, little, tiny boat far in the distance,” Tauber said. One of the migrants could be seen waving a shirt or jacket over his head to get people’s attention.
“It was a very, very, flimsy little boat. I don’t know how long it had been out there. It looked like if there was some sort of storm or something it wouldn’t do very well,” he said. “It was just very, very flimsy. It looked like something that wouldn’t hold one person, let alone seven.”
Tauber said the rescue took about an hour.
The Coast Guard said the seven migrants were repatriated back to Cuba on Wednesday.