Ports & Waterways

Coast Guard on search for 38 missing off Florida: ‘It is dire’

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The U.S. Coast Guard announced rescue teams are searching for 38 people after one person was discovered dead when a boat capsized off the coast of Miami Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Coast Guard Commander Jo-Ann Burdian said that the search and rescue attempts would continue in what is believed to be an effort to smuggle humans gone wrong, according to the wire service. 

On Tuesday, a witness found a man standing atop the mostly-submerged, overturned boat out in the ocean and rescued him.

The good samaritan was on a commercial ship and alerted the Coast Guard of the situation. The guard then sent out aircraft and other ships on a search and rescue mission, according to the outlet. 

U.S. Homeland Security officials are investigating the case. 

“We do suspect that this is a case of human smuggling, as this event occurred in a normal route for human smuggling,” Burdian said, according to Reuters. 

Burdian told reporters that one person who was found was already deceased, but no further information would be given publicly until the deceased’s family was notified, Reuters reported.

The survivor explained that they had left the Bahamas’s Bimini islands Saturday night and made it about 45 miles from shore when the ship carrying 39 other passengers capsized on Sunday morning, according to Reuters. 

The survivor, who was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and prolonged sun exposure, said that no one on board was wearing a life jacket.

It is undetermined what nationality those on board the overturned vessel are, but Reuters reported that it is not unusual that people coming from Cuba or Haiti who are trying to make it to Florida get caught in an overturned vessel at sea. 

Tags Bahamas capsizing Coast Guard Cuba Haiti Miami Miami Search and rescue

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