MIAMI (WSVN) - A cruise ship crossed paths with a group of migrants on a dangerous open-water journey. Then the crew came to their rescue.

Hundreds of passengers aboard the Carnival Celebration clapped and cheered as crew members rescued a group of migrants on Saturday.

The ship’s crew had spotted the migrants’ tattered vessel about 20 miles north of Cuba as they were heading back to PortMiami.

Passengers gathered along the deck as the ship made a turn to help the 20 people crammed into the tiny boat.

“We were sitting out on the open deck, and it flew past us, but we were going in the other direction, so we were like, ‘Wow, what was that?'” said passenger Dawn LeGrand.

“It was alarming because you see a small boat with, like, 19 people in there and dumping water off the boat,” said passenger Jay Vellon. “I mean, it’s not even considered a boat. It’s a little, small boat over capacity.”

Vellon described what happened next.

“Our cruise ship did a turn and approached the guys safely, and then they threw out a life jacket with a rope and just reeled the guys in and secured the small boat to the cruise ship,” he said.

Once the ship alerted the U.S. Coast Guard, one of their cutters was able to rescue those 20 people, who officials say are Cuban.

The migrants will be repatriated back to Cuba, according to USCG officials.

“They were packed in there. It was scary ’cause, if we didn’t go by, they could – would they have made it?” said LeGrand.

No injuries were reported.

Passengers said the whole ordeal took a couple of hours, and then the Celebration sailed into PortMiami.

Carnival Cruise released the following statement:

Carnival Celebration’s team helped a group of 20 people in distress on a boat in the Florida Straits on Saturday. The ship’s team gave them food and water and called the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West, which deployed a cutter and rescued the stranded group. The ship then resumed sailing toward PortMiami.

Matt Lupoli, Senior Manager of Public Relations Carnival Cruise Line

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