The U.S. National Park Service said Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys will be closed for “several days” after an estimated 300 Cuban migrants landed on its shores.
The park service said Monday in a press release that Dry Tortugas had seen a recent influx of migrants arriving by boat from Cuba and landing on the park’s surrounding islands. Authorities and medical workers will reportedly provide food, water and medical attention to the migrants on the remote islands.
Dry Tortugas is about 70 miles west of Key West and makes up seven small islands only accessible by boat or seaplane. It is located about 100 miles north of Havana.
“Public access while law enforcement and medical personnel evaluate, provide care for, and coordinate transport to Key West,” read the statement.
“The closure, which is expected to last several days, is necessary for the safety of visitors and staff because of the resources and space needed to attend to the migrants. Concession-operated ferry and seaplane services are temporarily suspended.”
A former Florida resident, Enid Magari, camping at the park over the New Year’s weekend, told NPR that he witnessed multiple migrant landings as they arrived on the shore in their makeshift chug boats. Magari told NPR that the migrants seemed happy to arrive on the shores and had supplies, such as life vests and snacks.
Magari tweeted video footage of one of the migrant landings.
On New Year’s Eve, 88 migrants arrived in the Florida Keys and over 160 migrants arrived the following day, according to a series of tweets from Walter Slosar, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (USBP) chief patrol agent.
Slosar also posted an official statement that since Oct. 1, the Miami sector of USBP has had over a 400% increase in migrant encounters.