Body Found In Search For 39 Suspected Migrants Off Florida Coast


Search For Migrants Off Fort Pierce Coast

Photo: CBS 12

A search for 39 suspected migrants off the Florida coast is now a search for 38, according to Coast Guard Captain Joanne Burdian, Commander of the Miami Sector.

"We did recover one deceased body who'll be transferred ashore today in Fort Pierce and we continue to search for other survivors."

She gave an update Wednesday on the search for more than three dozen people who were on a 25-foot boat that capsized about 40 miles off the coast of Fort Pierce on Saturday in rough weather.

A commercial boater located one survivor clinging to the hull of the vessel and notified the Coast Guard on Tuesday morning.

It was believed to be a human smuggling attempt, though none of the nationalities of those on board are known yet.

The survivor said the boat left Bimini in the Bahamas on Saturday and that nobody had on a life jacket.

Burdian says the search has been extensive.

"So far we've searched an area roughly 7,500 nautical miles which for reference is about the size of the state of New Jersey."

And she says they're not giving up in the search for more survivors.

"We've got multiple aircraft up today. Three Coast Guard cutters, multiple crews out there focusing the search effort."

Still, she acknowledges that they're running out of time to save lives.

"The longer they remain in the water, without food without water, it becomes much more unlikely that anyone could survive in those conditions."

Capt. Burdian says the event occurred in a "normal route for human smuggling from the Bahamas into the Southeast U.S.

The man picked up on Saturday is being questioned by the Department of Homeland Security.


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