KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- The nine Cubans who survived a plane crash in their attempt to flee their homeland will be allowed to pursue their dream of a new life in the United States.
Six of them were granted permission to apply for residency in the United States, said Patricia Mancha, spokeswoman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. That process can begin next September.
Similar permission was expected to be given to the remaining survivors, 6-year-old Andy Fuentes and his parents, both of whom were still hospitalized.
The boy's American relatives took him to Kmart on Thursday, helping him get some much-needed shoes as well as in-line skates, a basketball, football, baseball bat and helmet, and blue socks.
His parents -- Rodolfo Fuentes and Liliana Ponzoa, both 36 -- were expected to be released Friday from a Key West hospital, then all three were to be brought to Miami.
The other six survivors were released from the Krome Detention Center in Miami on Thursday and taken to a clinic for a medical checkup before being released to family members.
The family and seven others left Cuba on Tuesday, taking off from a rural airfield in a Soviet-built crop-duster. With the pilot lost and the plane low on fuel, the aircraft was ditched into the Gulf of Mexico between Cuba and Mexico. One man aboard was killed; the others were rescued by a nearby cargo ship.
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