The Coast Guard said on Thursday that it had recovered the bodies of five migrants from a suspected human-smuggling boat that capsized last weekend off the Florida coast, but it will suspend the search for more than 30 people. Passengers are still missing.
At a news conference in Miami Beach, Fla., officials say that four of the five bodies were found yesterday as crews searched the northern Florida strait and only one survivor was recovered. beginning of the week.
In the absence of additional information that could help Coast Guard officers narrow down the search, those in charge of the effort say they have no choice but to make the difficult decision stop searching.
Captain Jo-Ann F. Burdian, commander of the Miami Coast Guard, said the search would end by sunset Thursday.
“That means we don’t think it’s likely that anyone else will survive,” Captain Burdian said.
“Now that doesn’t mean the Coast Guard closes the case,” she stressed. That means we won’t be dedicating properties to this search. “
The 25-foot boat left Bimini, in the Bahamas, Saturday night, but encountered severe weather as it approached the Florida coast, capsizing about 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet, according to the Coast Guard.
About two days passed before rescuers learned of the maritime disaster, which underscores dangers associated with the prevalence of sea migration – and the despair of those who depended on the often overcrowded and fragile boats. Authorities said no one on the boat was wearing life jackets.
Anthony Salisbury, a special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Miami, said at the news conference that a criminal investigation is continuing into the human-smuggling activity connected to the boat.
“The objective of this investigation is to identify, arrest and prosecute any criminal or criminal organization that organized, facilitated or otherwise profited from this doomsday venture,” Agent Salisbury said. .
Agent Salisbury urges anyone with information about human trafficking or anyone who may have family members on the boat to contact federal investigators.
“So help us bring the criminals who prey and prey on vulnerable migrant communities to justice,” he said. “We don’t want anyone to do this again to any migrants. This is dangerous stuff. ”
Rescuers became aware of the capsized ship on Tuesday morning, when a boatman, who was described as a good Samaritan, found a man clinging to the hull of the boat, the Coast Guard said.
ONE Photo posted by Coast Guard on Twitter shows the man stretching the hull.
Captain Burdian said that three ships and eight planes were used in the search.
“We have saturated the area many times,” said Captain Burdian. “The weather is getting a little worse.”
The search effort comes after at least 31 people were rescued from the water last Friday when their boat capsized five miles west of Bimini. according to the Coast Guard and The Royal Bahamas Defense Force.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/us/capsized-boat-search-suspended.html Coast Guard ends search after finding bodies of 5 migrants from covered boat