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Cruise Ship Heading to FL Picks Up Cubans Adrift at Sea

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“They had like broomsticks for paddles is what it looked like.”

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (The Blaze/AP) -- A cruise ship heading back to port in South Florida picked up nine Cubans adrift in a raft at sea.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez says the Allure of the Seas' crew spotted the raft Saturday near the northern tip of Cuba.

The eight men and one woman got food, water and medical treatment aboard the cruise ship before the U.S. Coast Guard took them into custody.

One family taking the cruise tells The Miami Herald the ship's captain announced the rescue to passengers. They said that from the side of the cruise ship, the raft looked tiny and rickety.

“I was actually really exciting [sic] while it was all happening,” Colleen Hinch told the Miami Herald. “The captain made an announcement so everyone went over to the side to see what was happening. We turned around and there was a little tiny boat that didn’t look very sea-worthy.”

“They had like broomsticks for paddles is what it looked like,” she recalled. “So really rickety and not very safe looking; very, very small.”

Cubans picked up at sea are generally returned to Cuba.

The cruise ship was heading to Port Everglades at the end of a seven-day trip in the Caribbean.

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