A pleasure cruise on the Carnival ship Fantasy turned into a mission of mercy off the coast of Cozumel.

The Coast Guard and crew of the Fantasy rescued 23 people this weekend aboard a vessel the Coast Guard said had been adrift.

Coast Guard officials say they received a report from a Cuban national that his brother and 22 other people had been adrift for three days aboard a wooden boat headed to Mexico.

The Coast Guard says the group was picked up by another person aboard his sports fishing vessel, but the engines malfunctioned, and the group was adrift for another three days before being rescued by the Coast Guard and the crew of the Fantasy.

Monday morning the Fantasy, and the rescued people, docked in Mobile.

We saw vehicles from U.S. Customs and Border Protection leaving the docking area about 10:30.

They included two vans filled with people believed to be the 23 people rescued.

Several passengers we talked to Monday morning said they saw the people being brought aboard the Fantasy.

Darius Prim of Mobile said, "They told us it was a boat in distress and, when we looked, we saw all the people on the boat."

Another passenger said, "They stopped the boat and they were taken off in restraints and brought on and taken off. There was no other interaction."

Passengers we talked to said an announcement was made that the ship was making a rescue and would be delayed.

They say there was only a delay of about an hour

Michael Goodman talked about seeing the people from the rescued boat.

He said, "I saw a couple of them. They had to carry them out of the boat. There was five, six foot swells for probably hours and said they weren't feeling good. "

One passenger we talked to said he didn't know details of what had happened to the boat, but had questions.

Elison Walker said, "It was kind of fishy just because they were on, it was a fishing boat, but, the thing about it was, there was no fishing poles: 20 something people on it."

The Coast Guard says the 23 individuals were to be transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard Investigative Services in Mobile.

We've contacted Customs officials to find out what their status is now and what will happen to them, but haven't received word back yet.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

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