| 27 September 2022, Tuesday |

Dozens of people missing after boat capsizes off Florida: US Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard confirmed Tuesday that it has initiated a search for 39 persons who went missing after a boat sank off the coast of Florida in a “suspected human smuggling enterprise.”

The Miami Coast Guard stated it got a tip “from a good Samaritan” who rescued a guy who was “clinging to a capsized vessel approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet.”

The survivor confessed that the boat left Bimini, Bahamas, on Saturday night, but ran into heavy weather and overturned.

“No one was wearing a life jacket, according to the survivor,” the statement added.

“Coast Guard air and surface asset personnel are looking for persons in the water.” “This is a suspected people smuggling operation,” according to the statement, which was shared on Twitter.

The Coast Guard shared a photo of the capsized sailboat in the ocean, with a guy riding the wreckage.

Human smugglers are known to utilize the Bahamas, a series of islands off the coast of Florida, as a staging area for bringing individuals into the United States, many of whom are from other Caribbean nations such as Haiti.

Bimini, the Bahamas’ westernmost district and its nearest point to the mainland, is about 130 miles (217 kilometers) from Fort Pierce Inlet.

According to the US Coast Guard and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, 32 persons were rescued on Friday when a boat sank about five miles west of Bimini in another alleged human smuggling attempt.

The US Coast Guard stated that its ships are patrolling the waterways between Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas “to safeguard the safety of lives at sea.”

“Navigating the waters in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels is exceedingly risky and can result in loss of life,” the report cautioned.

  • AFP