By Brett Clarkson, Sun Sentinel

3:57 p.m. EST, December 27, 2012

A Christmas Eve attempt by two Bahamian boat captains to smuggle five Chinese migrants into the U.S. was thwarted after their outboard motor died, federal agents said.

The technical difficulty left the seven occupants — including four Chinese women — on the 20-foot Mako fishing boat briefly stranded at 4 a.m. on Dec. 24 in the waters off Palm Beach County. They were stuck until a Coast Guard vessel arrived.

Coast Guard officers boarded the fishing boat to find a Bahamian man at the steering wheel, another Bahamian trying to work the engines, and five Chinese people in tow. None of the seven had proper documentation to enter the U.S., said a criminal complaint filed by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations.

The Chinese contingent numbered four adult women and one adult male, said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent John Solek, of U.S. Border Patrol. Two of them spoke English, but none of them would speak to agents about where they were headed.

"That's unknown," Solek said. "They were unwilling to cooperate."

Boat full of Chinese migrants busted en route from Bahamas - South Florida