TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday it is searching for 39 people who have been missing for three days after their suspected smuggling boat capsized off the Florida coast.
Authorities were alerted Tuesday after a “good Samaritan” found a man clinging to a capsized vessel about 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet, the Coast Guard said.
The survivor told authorities that he and 39 others had boarded the boat in Bimini, Bahamas on Saturday when they encountered severe weather, causing the vessel to capsize.
According to the survivor, no one was wearing a life jacket. It wasn’t immediately clear if the boat was en-route to the U.S. or elsewhere.
The Coast Guard said this appears to be a suspected human smuggling venture. Multiple cutters & aircraft are searching from Bimini, Bahamas to theFort Pierce Inlet in hopes of finding any survivors.