Two dead and five missing as migrant boat capsizes off Florida Keys

<span>Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images

Two people died and five were missing after a boat believed to be carrying migrants attempting to enter the US illegally capsized off the coast of the Florida Keys in the latest incident to highlight the dangerous sea-crossing, the Coast Guard said.

Related: Lone survivor of migrant boat: ‘Mentally I was suffering … but I did not lose hope’

Eight people were rescued from the boat, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

The agency described the boat as a “rustic vessel” with 15 migrant passengers.

“Our search continues for others that may have survived this tragic incident,” said Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, commander of the seventh coast guard district. “This situation highlights the risks these migrants face as they attempt to enter the United States illegally by sea.”

He added: “For people illegally migrating aboard unseaworthy or overloaded boats and homemade rafts, who lack basic lifesaving equipment like life jackets, those risks can often prove deadly.”

It was not immediately clear where the migrants were originally from.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard responded to a grounded sailing vessel that was believed to be carrying more than 100 migrants on Saturday afternoon. The boat was spotted off the coast of Key Largo, near the gated community of Ocean Reef, officials said.

Rescue crews transferred the people from the grounded vessel to Coast Guard ships, officials said. Some entered the water without life jackets and needed to be rescued, the Coast Guard said.

In July a boat carrying Haitian migrants headed for the US capsized near the Bahamas leaving at least 17 people dead.