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The U.S. Coast Guard was searching the waters off Florida’s coast for 39 people missing after their boat capsized in a suspected human smuggling trip, officials said Tuesday.
A good Samaritan found a single survivor clinging to the overturned vessel around 45 miles east of Fort Pierce on Tuesday, the Coast Guard said.
The man said he and 39 other people left Bimini in the Bahamas on Saturday night, but the craft experienced severe weather and capsized, according to the Coast Guard. The agency said the man reported that no one was wearing life jackets.
The Coast Guard said it was a “suspected human smuggling venture.”
Bimini is an island on the western part of the Bahamas around 50 miles from Miami.
The Coast Guard was notified around 8 a.m. and searching from Fort Pierce Inlet to Bimini with ships and aircraft. The distance between the two is around 140 miles.
The Coast Guard and other officials have warned migrants not to try the dangerous trip by sea.
On Friday, the Coasts Guard and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force intercepted 88 Haitians in an overloaded freighter near Great Inagua in the Bahamas, which is north of Haiti, the Coast Guard said.
Also Friday, 32 people were rescued from a capsized boat around 5 miles west of Bimini, according to the Coast Guard.
Source: This post first appeared on NBC News