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Search for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast in 'human smuggling' incident
25 January 2022, 20:24 | Updated: 25 January 2022, 23:36
A search mission is under way for 39 people after a boat capsized in a suspected "human smuggling" incident off the coast of Florida.
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One person was found clinging to a capsized vessel approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet, at around 8am on Tuesday.
The US Coastguard said a good Samaritan alerted them to the survivor, who said he was one of 40 people onboard a boat.
The boat departed from Bimini, in the Bahamas, on Saturday night.
The survivor said the boat encountered severe weather, causing the vessel to capsize just hours after setting off.
#BREAKING @USCG rescue crews are currently searching for 39 people after their boat reportedly capsized on Saturday night approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet. #SAR— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) January 25, 2022
More updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/iGCJ7KRjXY
The US Coastguard said: "According to the survivor, no one was wearing a life jacket.
"Coastguard air and surface asset crews are actively searching for people in the water. This is a suspected human smuggling venture."
Multiple cutters and aircraft are searching from Bimini, the Bahamas, to Fort Pierce Inlet, the coastguard said.
No one else has been rescued at this time.