Coast Guard Ends Search For Bodies From Capsize Off Florida

Coast Guard ends search for bodies from capsize off Florida

Miami, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Jan, 2022 ) :The United States Coast Guard ended its search for over 30 missing people on Thursday, after a boat capsized off the Florida coast last weekend in a suspected human smuggling tragedy.

Search teams had earlier recovered five bodies from around 40 people who were on the boat, before Coast Guard captain Jo-Ann Burdian announced the rescue operation had been called off.

The decision was made "with much regret" after taking into account the weather conditions, the absence of life jackets on the boat and the time elapsed since the incident, Burdian said in a statement.

The Coast Guard sounded the alarm morning after a man clinging to a capsized vessel was rescued on Tuesday.

He told authorities he had left the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas on Saturday with 39 others, none of whom were wearing life jackets.

As the search proceeded this week, hopes for the missing people -- stranded in cold Atlantic waters with no life jackets or supplies -- dwindled with Burdian saying on Wednesday there was little hope of finding survivors.

Burdian has said the failed journey was suspected to be a human smuggling venture, as it occurred along a route commonly used for such clandestine trips from the Bahamas to the United States.

Human smugglers are known to use the Bahamas -- a group of islands near the Florida coast -- as a jumping-off point for getting people, many from other Caribbean countries such as Haiti, into the United States.

Bimini, the westernmost district of the Bahamas and its closest point to the US mainland, is approximately 130 miles from Fort Pierce Inlet.