Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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US Coast Guard finds body as search continues for missing people off coast of Florida

The United States Coast Guard has recovered a body while searching for the remaining 38 people missing from a vessel that capsized off the Atlantic coast of Florida over the weekend.

The Coast Guard began the search Tuesday morning after reports came in that the crew of a Signet Corporation tug boat rescued a man who was clinging to a capsized boat about 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet. The tug boat’s captain, Ryan Elwin, told CNN that the man looked very weak when they found him and that “he could barely hold on” to the hull of the capsized boat. Elwin also said he knew they “had to do something to help” the man.

The man was taken to a hospital with symptoms of dehydration and sun exposure, but according to officials he is in stable condition.

The survivor told Homeland Security officials that the boat capsized when it encountered bad weather after it left Bimini, Bahamas. The man also said that none of the other 39 people on board were wearing life jackets.

The Coast Guard suspects that the incident was a part of a human smuggling venture, and authorities have launches a criminal investigation.

In a news conference, Capt. Jo-Ann F. Burdian said that Coast Guard cutters and aircraft, Navy aircraft and other assets from partner agencies were being used a search area that was about the size of New Jersey. Burdian also said that as more time has passed, the hope of finding more survivors has diminished.

“The longer they remain in the water, without food, without water, exposed to the marine environment…every moment that passes, it becomes much more dire and unlikely that anyone could survive in those conditions,” Burdian said.

Burdian also said the recovered body was being brought to Fort Pierce, Florida, to be identified.



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