The US Coast Guard said Tuesday it is searching for 39 people who have been missing for three days after their suspected smuggling boat capsized off the Florida coast.
Authorities were only alerted Tuesday after a “good Samaritan” found a man clinging to a capsized vessel about 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet, the Coast Guard said.
The survivor told authorities that he and 39 others had boarded the boat in Bimini, a Bahamas island about 50 miles from Miami, on Saturday night.
The vessel capsized after encountering severe weather, the survivor said.
No one was wearing a life jacket, the man added.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the boat was en route to the US or elsewhere.
Coast Guard rescue crews were scouring the water Tuesday afternoon in search of any other survivors.
Those on board the boat are believed to be involved in a “human smuggling venture,” officials said.