Capsized Boat Leaves 38 Missing Off Coast Of Florida

Capsized Boat Leaves 38 Missing Off Coast Of Florida

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to search for dozens of people missing off the coast of Florida after finding one body, while 38 people remain unaccounted for after a capsized boat left only one reported survivor.

The suspected smuggling boat incident has led to a massive search to find any additional survivors after just one man was found clinging to the remains of the overturned boat on Tuesday morning.

“We are using every piece of information we can to make sure we are exhausting our search efforts,” Coast Guard Capt. Jo-Ann F. Burdian said, according to the Associated Press. “But we can’t search forever.”

The survivor said the boat launched from the island of Bimini in the Bahamas on Saturday evening before running into a storm on its way to Florida’s coast. The overturned boat was discovered about 40 miles from Fort Pierce.

Bimini is located approximately 55 miles east of the tip of South Florida.

As of Wednesday morning, Burdian reported four ships and five aircraft involved in the massive water search operation.

The Coast Guard also issued a statement on Twitter on Wednesday regarding the suspected smuggling incident.

“Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders received a report from a good Samaritan who rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet,” the statement read.

“The survivor reported he left Bimini, Bahamas, with 39 people Saturday night and encountered severe weather, causing the vessel to capsize. According to the survivor, no one was wearing a life jacket. Coast Guard air and surface asset crews are actively searching for people in the water. This is a suspected human smuggling venture,” the statement added.

#BREAKING @USCG rescue crews are currently searching for 39 people after their boat reportedly capsized on Saturday night approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet. #SAR

More updates to follow.

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) January 25, 2022

A press conference on Wednesday morning also included details regarding the sole survivor and the discovery of one body.

Burdian did not release the information of the nationalities or ages of the migrants involved.

The incident is one of many recent alleged smuggling attempts encountered by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Florida.

Last week, the sector intercepted an overloaded sailing vessel of 88 Haitian migrants near the Bahamas.

#Breaking @USCG and @TheRBDF intercepted 88 Haitians aboard an overloaded sail freighter Friday, near #GreatInagua, #Bahamas#DontTakeToTheSeas #Partnerships

Read more:

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) January 23, 2022

On January 19, three vessels involving 90 Dominicans were intercepted near Puerto Rico and returned to the Dominican Republic.

“These successful interdictions were possible thanks to excellent coordination and collaboration between the Coast Guard and our local and federal partners within the Caribbean Border Interagency Group, together, we stand ready and respond daily to protect our nation’s maritime border from illegal voyages and other existing threats,” Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response, said in a statement.

“To anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we urge you not to take to the sea!  Your life and the life of everyone else taking part in the voyage will be in great danger.  The sea-state conditions of the Mona Passage are dangerous and quite unpredictable, especially for these grossly overloaded makeshift vessels that most often are unseaworthy and have no lifesaving equipment onboard,” he added.

The @USCG Cutter Richard Dixon repatriated 90 Dominicans to #DR, Sunday afternoon, following the safe rescue & interdiction of 3 illegal voyages near Puerto Rico.

Read the full release here: @EmbajadaUSAenRD

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) January 19, 2022

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