A boat with dozens of migrants sank off the coast of Florida. One survivor was found.
A boat carrying dozens of migrants sank off the coast of Florida. There were 39 people on the boat trying to enter the U.S. from the Bahamas. One survivor has been found so far.
The boat sank Saturday night, and Tuesday morning fishermen spotted a man holding onto its hull 72 kilometers from the town of Fort Pierce.
He was rescued, and the man said the boat left Bimini Island on Saturday and was caught in a storm. There were 39 people on the boat, he said, all without life jackets. Bimini is the westernmost area of the Bahamas and is about 130 kilometers from Miami.
The U.S. Coast Guard believes the boat owners were smuggling people. Smugglers’ passengers are being searched with rescue boats and helicopters, but by noon Tuesday no other survivors had been found. The search area is 217 kilometers wide, from Bimini to Fort Pierce.
This is not the first time illegal migrants, mostly from Cuba and Haiti, have died in Florida waters trying to reach the United States. Some manage to swim to U.S. shores, where they are apprehended by the Coast Guard. Last Friday, for example, officers found 88 Haitians on a boat west of the Bahamas.
“Crossing the Straits of Florida, Navette Strait and Mona Strait in boats that are overloaded and not equipped for such a journey is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of life. The Coast Guard will continue to intercept these voyages. You will be caught and returned to your country of origin,” the service warns migrants.