39 People Missing Near Florida After Suspected ‘Smuggling’ Boat Capsized

  • The Coast Guard discovered a man clinging to the hull of a capsized boat Saturday.
  • According to the agency, 39 people are missing after a boat capsized off Florida’s coast.
  • The agency said the voyage was a “suspected human smuggling venture” from the Bahamas.

US Coast Guard rescue crews are searching for 39 missing people after the agency received word of a capsized boat off the coast of Florida that it suspects was part of a “human smuggling venture.”

A lone survivor was found clinging to the hull of an overturned boat about 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet on Saturday night, according to the Coast Guard’s Southeast Sector official Twitter account.

“The survivor reported he left Bimini, Bahamas, with 39 other people Saturday night and encountered severe weather, causing the vessel to capsize,” said Coast Guard said on Tuesday. “This is a suspected human smuggling venture.”

The survivor told the Coast Guard that no one on board had been wearing a life jacket, the agency said.

The Coast Guard said that “multiple cutters and aircraft” are searching the 135-mile stretch between Fort Pierce Inlet and the island of Bimini, which is the westernmost district of the Bahamas.

The agency hasn’t revealed if any other survivors have since been found.

As of 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, a Coast Guard District 7 spokesperson told Insider there were no further updates on the search. 

In a separate report on Friday, the Coast Guard said it intercepted 88 Haitians crammed onto a sail freighter near Great Inagua, Bahamas. The Coast Guard jointly ran the operation with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force.

“Coast Guard crews continue to have a presence patrolling the waters around Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas, to ensure the safety of life at sea,” said the agency in a Facebook post.

“Navigating the Florida Straits, Windward and Mona Passages in overloaded and less than seaworthy passages is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of life,” it warned.



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