Miami — U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday that its crew had recovered one and continued to search for the other 38 in the waters off Florida after their boat left the Bahamas on suspicion of human smuggling. Stated.
Captain Jo-Ann F. Burdian said at a news conference that finding other migrants alive was their number one priority.
“It’s miserable. If they stay in the water for a long time … exposed to the marine environment … every moment, the chances of finding a survivor are much lower,” she said.
Searchers worked all night after finding a lone survivor clinging to the capsized hull of a capsized boat off the coast of Florida on Tuesday morning on suspicion of smuggling.
At least four ships and a crew of five aircraft have already scanned as large an area as New Jersey, Birdian said.
The man told the good Samaritan who rescued him that he was part of a group of 40 people who left the island of Bimini in the Bahamas on Saturday night and that the Maritime Security Department suspected a human smuggling operation. rice field. He said no one was wearing a life jacket that was capsized in bad weather.
The Coast Guard said a small aircraft recommendation was issued on Saturday and Sunday as a severe cold front blew through dangerous passages with winds up to 23 mph and swells up to 9 feet high. Tommy Sewell, a local bone fishing guide, said there was strong winds and heavy rain from Sunday to Monday.
Authorities reported that survivors were taken to hospital for dehydration and sun exposure after being found sitting on a hull 45 miles east of Fort Pierce early Tuesday. The Coast Guard did not immediately explain the nationalities of survivors and those lost in the sea.
Illegal immigrants have long used the islands of the Bahamas as a stepping stone to reach Florida and the United States. They usually try to take advantage of changing weather to create intersections, but ships are often dangerously overloaded and tend to capsize. Thousands of people have died over the years.
Most often, these illegal immigrants come from Haiti and Cuba, but the Bahamas Defense Forces reported earlier this month arresting migrants from other parts of the world, including Colombia and Ecuador.
The Coast Guard is constantly patroling the waters around Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas. On Friday, the crew pulled 88 Haitians from an overloaded sailing vessel west of Great Inagua in the Bahamas.
“Navigating the Straits of Florida, Windward and Mona Passage is extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening,” the Coast Guard said last weekend.
Last July, the Coast Guard rescued 13 people after a boat overturned from Key West when a tropical cyclone Elsa approached.
Survivors said 22 people had boarded and left Cuba. Nine people went missing in the water.