Officials believe that a vessel carrying 300 Haitian migrants arrived in the Florida Keys over the weekend. It was part of a smuggling operation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection stated to NBC News that it, along with U.S. Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies, responded to a maritime smuggling incident that occurred in Ocean Reef, Florida, on Sunday.
According to the statement, the investigation is ongoing.
Walter N. Slosar, Chief Patrol Agent for Border Patrol, stated on that approximately 300 migrants had been loaded onto a wooden boat and 163 ended up swimming to shore.
He shared a photo of migrants lying on towels along the shore and noted that many were in need of medical attention.
The U.S. Coast Guard Southeast shared footage and photos of the incident. It said it was helping to coordinate rescues on Sunday.
The agency stated that initial reports showed that the suspect smuggling enterprise was Haitian.
"Multiple agencies quickly responded & worked closely in order to protect a lot more lives today," Lt.Cmdr. Jason Neiman, Coast Guard District Seven, released a statement via Twitter.
According to the Coast Guard, "the situation is still evolving."