(Reuters) - The 12 Cubans who tried to sail a 1951 Chevy
truck from the communist-ruled island to the United
States got no marks from U.S. authorities for their
emigrants were sent back home.
Since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, Cubans have tried
to leave the Caribbean island on rudimentary rafts, on
giant truck inner tubes, in stolen boats and planes,
even by windsurfer.
But no one
remembers anyone attempting the 90-mile crossing of the
Florida Straits in a floating flatbed truck with
55-gallon (250-litre) drums strapped to its sides, tires
still in place, a propeller attached to its drive shaft
and a driver behind the wheel.
"We've seen surfboards, pieces of Styrofoam, bathtubs,
refrigerators. But never an automobile," Coast Guard
Petty Officer Ryan Doss said on Thursday.
U.S. government plane spotted the bright-green truck
chugging through the water at 8 mph (13 kph) on July 16
about 40 miles south of Key West, just over halfway from
Cuba to Florida. The Cubans had fashioned a makeshift,
bright yellow shelter on the truck's bed.
"The truck's engine was actually running,
propelling it through the water," Doss said.
The Coast Guard picked up the 12 Cubans
from the vintage vehicle and took them back to the
island on Sunday.
The truck was
deemed a hazard to navigation and was sent to the
Under the U.S.
immigration policy known as "wet foot, dry foot," Cubans
who manage to set foot on U.S. soil are usually allowed
to stay while those stopped at sea are routinely sent
back to Cuba.