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One Body Found With 38 Still Missing In Suspected Human Smuggling Boat Accident

by : Charlie Cocksedge on :
One Body Found With 38 Still Missing In Suspected Human Smuggling Boat Accident
One Body Found With 38 Still Missing In Suspected Human Smuggling Boat Accident (Alamy/US Coast Guard)

A sole survivor has been found by the coast guard in Florida after a suspected human smuggling boat capsized in the area.

The boat is believed to have had around 40 people on board. Along with the individual survivor, one body has been recovered.

The survivor was found clinging to the capsized boat roughly 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet.

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'It is dire. The longer they remain in the water ... exposed to the marine environment ... with every moment that passes, it becomes much more dire and more unlikely' survivors will be found, Capt. Jo-Ann F. Burdian told Tampa Bay Times.

Search and rescue teams worked throughout Tuesday, January 25, and into the night in an effort to find more people. Crews on four ships and five aircraft have been scanning an area the size of New Jersey, Burdian said, in an attempt to locate survivors.

The sole survivor told the person who rescued him he was part of a group of 40 people, which departed from the island of Bimini in the Bahamas on January 22. The maritime security agency believes this could have been a human smuggling operation.

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According to the survivor, none of the passengers were wearing life jackets as the boat capsized in stormy weather.

The passenger was taken to hospital to be treated for dehydration and sun exposure, after he was found sitting on the hull of the upturned boat 45 miles (72 kilometres) east of Fort Pierce.

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The US Coast Guard is continuing its search.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: News, US News