Home LATEST NEWS “Desperate” search for migrants who capsized off Florida

“Desperate” search for migrants who capsized off Florida

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Rescue operations have so far only found one body, while a survivor in stable condition claims that around 40 passengers were on board the ship.

We recovered the body of a deceased person […] and continue the search for other survivors, said the captain of the coastguard of the sector, Jo-Ann Burdian, during a press conference on Wednesday morning.

However, the chances are very slim of finding other survivors, nearly four days after the disaster and in difficult survival conditions.

The longer they stay in the water, without food, without water [potable], in the cold, with the marine environment, the sun, the sea conditions… With each passing moment, it becomes more desperate and more unlikely that anyone could have survived. »

A quote from Miami Coast Guard Captain Jo-Ann Burdian

We can’t search forever, she warned.

The boat, which left the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas on Saturday evening, capsized shortly after leaving due to severe weather in the area, said Jo-Ann Burdian, and this, about 65 km east of the city of Fort Pierce.

The alert was given around 8 a.m. local time on Tuesday by a commercial vessel that picked up one of the passengers who had managed to cling to the hull of the overturned boat.

This survivor, brought back to the mainland by the coast guard, was hospitalized for dehydration and burns due to his prolonged exposure to the sun, said captain Jo-Ann Burdian.

According to this survivor, the boat was carrying 39 other people and none of the passengers were wearing life jackets.

A man sitting on an overturned boat.

A man who managed to cling to the boat was picked up by a commercial vessel.

Photo: Reuters/US Coast Guard

Search conditions were Wednesday very good, described the captain, and a plane mobilized for search and rescue operations spotted debris fields which are under review hoping to find other victims we can recover or survivors.

Search teams have already combed an area of ​​7,500 nautical miles, she said, about the size of the state of New Jersey.

Authorities suspect a human smuggling operation, confirmed the captain, describing a usual route for such traffic between the Bahamas and the southeastern United States.

About 5,000 Haitian migrants work legally in the Bahamas, according to the World Organization for Migration, but between 20,000 and 50,000 reside there illegally.

The Bahamas, an archipelago of 700 islets (including 39 inhabited) located 80 km southeast of the coast of Florida, close to Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti, are regularly used as a land of transit by migrants who seek to reach the United States, and as a starting point for a dangerous crossing by Haitians living in the archipelago.

Last Friday, 32 people were rescued after a boat capsized a few miles west of the Bimini Islands in another suspected human smuggling operation, the US Coast Guard reported.

Sailing at sea in overloaded and in poor condition boats is extremely dangerous and can lead to death, they warned on Twitter on Sunday.

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