Three people rescued from inner tube

March 25, 2004 at 2:40 PM

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, Fla., March 25 (UPI) -- Two men and a woman on inner tubes were rescued Thursday just off a beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., The Miami Herald reported.

The Coast Guard, Broward County, Fla., Sheriff's Office and beachgoers helped with the apparently exhausted people, who were first spotted 400 yards offshore.

It was not known whether they were Cuban migrants, although Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Tony Russell pointed out the Florida Straits are often used by such refugees to get to Florida.

The two men were dragged to shore by rescuers in the rough seas and the woman was airlifted by a Coast Guard helicopter.

Russell said searchers were continuing to look for others in inner tubes who may have accompanied the three.

"Trying to make it to the United States in this type of vessel is a recipe for disaster," Russell said.

He said the Coast Guard's job in these instances is to enforce immigration laws and provide safety for those in the water.

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