Body recovered in search of missing boaters off Fort Pierce

Body recovered in search of missing boaters off Fort Pierce

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Tue, January 25th 2022, 2:11 PM EST)

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (CBS12) — The U.S. Coast Guard says it has recovered the body of a person who was on a boat that capsized off Fort Pierce.

The wreck happened in severe weather, Saturday night, 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet, according to the Coast Guard.

A good Samaritan rescued a survivor who was clinging to the hull of the 25-foot boat at about 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The survivor reported he left Bimini, in The Bahamas, with 39 other people Saturday night and encountered severe weather, causing the vessel to capsize Sunday morning.

Body recovered in search of missing boaters off Fort Pierce
The U.S. Coast Guard is trying to save 39 people from a boat that capsized off Fort Pierce. (U.S. Coast Guard)

He said no one was wearing a life jacket.

The survivor was taken to a local hospital for symptoms of dehydration and sun exposure. He is in stable condition, according to the Coast Guard.

Now, officials say they’re searching by both air and sea over a roughly 135-mile area extending from Bimini to Fort Pierce Inlet.

The Coast Guard said it suspects the boat was a case of human smuggling.

The agency patrols the waters around Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas, along routes often used by migrants trying to reach the U.S. It stops and repatriates foreigners found navigating in U.S. waters.

On Friday, the Coast Guard found 88 Haitians in an overloaded sail freighter west of Great Inagua, Bahamas.

“Navigating the Florida straits, Windward and Mona Passages … is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of life,” the Coast Guard said in a statement last weekend.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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