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20 migrants missing off the coast of Florida after boat sinks during Hurricane Ian, Coast Guard says

Officials said four migrants swam ashore and a total of nine Cuban migrants have been rescued.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard continues searching for 17 missing people off the coast of Florida, after a boat carrying 27 migrants sank as Hurricane Ian neared the peninsula.

On Friday, officials said they recovered a body near Ocean Edge Marina and air crews continued the search. As of Thursday, crews rescued a total of nine Cuban migrants.

Miami Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said on Twitter Wednesday that four Cuban migrants swam ashore to Stock Island near Key West after their boat sank in the extreme weather.

Hours later, U.S. Coast Guard officials said crews rescued three people about two miles south of Boca Chica Key. Officials said they were brought to a local hospital for symptoms of exhaustion and dehydration.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida near Cayo Costa on Wednesday as a massive Category 4 storm.

Ian left a broad swath of destruction after it came ashore on Florida’s Gulf Coast as one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S. The storm flooded areas on both of Florida’s coasts, tore homes from their slabs, demolished beachfront businesses and left more than 2 million people without power. At least seven people were confirmed dead in the state — a number that was likely to increase as officials confirm more deaths and search for people.

RELATED: Cuba begins to restore lights after Ian blacks out island

Before making its way through the Gulf of Mexico to Florida, Hurricane Ian tore into western Cuba as a major hurricane Tuesday. 

The power outage caused by Hurricane Ian prompted protests in the streets of Cuba's capital as several hundred people demanded restoration of electricity more than two days after a blackout hit the entire island.

It appeared to be the first public display over the electricity problems that spread from western Cuba, where Ian hit, to the entire island, leaving the country's 11 million people in the dark. The storm also left three people in Cuba dead and caused still unquantified damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

RELATED: Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as dangerous Category 4 storm

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