Rescue teams are looking for 39 people believed to be missing after a boat capsized off the coast of Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday. The Coast Guard suspects it was a human smuggling venture.
The Miami Coast Guard sector was alerted after a good Samaritan rescued a man clinging to a capsized 25-foot vessel approximately 45 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet on Tuesday morning. The man was hospitalized for "symptoms of dehydration and sun exposure," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The surviving man told the U.S. Coast Guard he and 39 other people left from Bimini in the Bahamas on Saturday night. Severe weather caused the vessel to capsize, and none of the passengers were wearing a life jacket.
"Coast Guard air and surface asset crews are actively searching for people in the water," the Coast Guard tweeted. On Tuesday night, it said its crews had searched more than 1,300 square miles.
Officials said they will provide further updates at a news conference at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday.