US Coast Guard begins frantic search for 38 missing off Florida

Published January 27, 2022
The USCG Cutter Ibis and USCG Cutter Skipjack are seen docked at the US Coast Guard station after searching for 39 people reported missing after their boat capsised in the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Pierce, Florida, US, January 26. — Reuters
The USCG Cutter Ibis and USCG Cutter Skipjack are seen docked at the US Coast Guard station after searching for 39 people reported missing after their boat capsised in the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Pierce, Florida, US, January 26. — Reuters

MIAMI BEACH: The Coast Guard battled time and currents on Wednesday as its planes and ships searched for 38 people missing off the coast of Florida, four days after a suspected human smuggling boat capsized in a storm.

The accident killed at least one person and left a single known survivor.

Capt. Jo-Ann F. Burdian said the survivor told rescuers that the boat capsized on Saturday evening shortly after sailing into a storm from the Bahamas. The Coast Guard was alerted on Tuesday morning after the crew of a merchant vessel spotted the man sitting alone on the overturned hull of the 25-foot boat.

She said finding other migrants alive is urgent. With every moment that passes, it becomes much more dire and more unlikely that survivors will be found, she told a news conference. Crews searched around the clock, extrapolating from where the wreck was spotted about 64 kilometres off Fort Pierce. By Wednesday morning, crews on at least four ships and five aircraft scanned a vast area about the size of New Jersey, Burdian said.

They planned to keep searching throughout the day and then re-evaluate.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022

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