By MEGAN JANETSKY, Associated Press
HAVANA (AP) — A boat off northern Cuba traveling toward the United States sank Saturday after a collision with a Cuban coast guard ship, and at least five people died, Cuban state media reported Saturday.
The craft reportedly flipped over after the crash near Bahia Honda, about two hours from the capital of Havana.
Among the five known dead were a minor and three women, while 23 people were rescued, the Cubadebate report said.
Further details were not released, with Cuban officials telling the state channel that an investigation was underway.
The incident comes amid the biggest migratory flight from the Caribbean island in four decades, spurred by a deepening economic, political and energy crisis.
The vast majority of Cubans who are leaving go by plane to Nicaragua, then travel overland to the US border, often in Texas and Arizona.
But a growing number have fled by boat on the dangerous 90-mile journey to the southern coast of the United States. Between October 2021 and August 2022, the US Coast Guard intercepted more than 4,600 Cubans traveling by boat, almost 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 US over six months, known as the Mariel crisis.
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