The U.S. Coast Guard reported that it is searching for 39 people missing after the boat they were traveling on, presumed to be used for human smuggling, wrecked off the coast of Florida en route from the Bahamas
According to authorities, the alert was given on Tuesday around 08:00 a.m. by a sailor who picked up one of the passengers who had managed to hitch a ride on the boat. The survivor said the boat was carrying 39 other people and none of the passengers were wearing life jackets.
On Tuesday several ships and planes were involved in the search for the missing between Bimini, a small archipelago located east of Miami, and Fort Pierce, further north.
The Coast Guard said it fears this is a suspected case of human smuggling.
The Bahamas, an archipelago of 700 islets (including 39 inhabited ones) located 50 miles southeast off the coast of Florida, near Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti, is regularly used as a transit route for migrants seeking to reach the United States, and as a departure point by Haitians living in the archipelago.
* With information from AFP and AP
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