Coast Guard searching for 39 people whose boat reportedly capsized near Florida coast
The U.S. Coast Guard says rescue crews are searching for 39 people who went missing Saturday after their boat reportedly capsized after departing from the Bahamas.
Coast Guard officials said they learned about the incident on Tuesday morning after a good Samaritan rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel about 45 miles east of Florida's Fort Pierce Inlet.
The survivor was aboard a boat that departed from Bimini, Bahamas, a small island roughly 55 miles east of Miami. In a tweet announcing the rescue operation, the Coast Guard called the incident a "suspected human smuggling venture."
According to the Guard, passengers reportedly encountered severe weather shortly after leaving Bimini, which caused their vessel to capsize. The Coast Guard said the survivor told them no one on board was wearing a life jacket.
Multiple cutters and aircraft are actively searching for survivors in the waters between Bimini and Fort Pierce Inlet, the Guard said.
The operation is at least the second major search effort for the Guard in the past week. On Friday, a joint search team rescued 32 people from a capsized vessel about five miles west of Bimini. The Guard said the incident was a "suspected migrant venture."