Disasters & Accidents

Coast Guard finds body of Florida shipwreck victim

Miami, Jan 26 (EFE).- The US Coast Guard on Wednesday reported finding the body of one of the people who drowned when their vessel sank some 40 miles off the eastern coast of Florida, the find coming in the same zone where one of the survivors of the shipwreck said that the vessel had gone down on the weekend with a total of 40 people on board.

Capt. Jo-Ann Burdian, the Coast Guard commander for the Miami sector, said at a press conference in Miami Beach that the sea and air search for the people who were on board the vessel will continue on Wednesday because time is running out for finding anyone alive, but she warned that the search cannot be continued forever.

The male survivor of the shipwreck, which occurred last Sunday in bad weather and high seas, is in “stable” condition in a hospital in the Fort Pierce area, a city some 200 km (about 125 miles) north of Miami.

Burdian avoided providing details about the survivor or the other people on board the 25-foot vessel that set sail from Bimini, in The Bahamas, on Saturday night.

She also did not reveal the identify of the drowned person whose body was recovered in the past few hours out of respect for the person’s “privacy and dignity,” and she expressed her condolences to the families of the shipwreck victims.

Authorities are investigating whether or not this was a case of migrant smuggling, she emphasized.

According to Burdian, up to now an area of the ocean the size of New Jersey – some 8,723 square miles – has been scoured by air and sea as the Coast Guard searches for survivors and/or bodies.

The survivor said that the boat set out from Bimini and bad weather and heavy seas caused it to capsize.

Nobody on board was wearing a life jacket, the man said.

EFE ar/lce/laa/bp

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