A vessel believed to be carrying about 300 Haitian migrants landed in the Florida Keys area over the weekend in what officials are calling a smuggling operation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection told NBC News in a statement that the agency, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement, "responded to a maritime smuggling event that made landfall in Ocean Reef, Florida," on Sunday.
The investigation is ongoing, according to the statement.
Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar said on Twitter that approximately 300 migrants were overloaded onto a wooden vessel, and 163 of them ended up swimming to shore.
He shared a photo showing migrants wrapped in towels on the shore, noting that many were “in need of medical attention.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Southeast also shared photos and footage of the incident, saying it was helping coordinate on-shore rescues Sunday.
“Initial reports show the people involved in this suspected smuggling venture are Haitian,” the agency added.
“Multiple agencies responded quickly & worked closely to protect a lot of lives today,” Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman of Coast Guard District Seven said in a statement on Twitter.
The Coast Guard said "the situation is still evolving."