3 People Found Dead in Capsized Boat Off Florida Coast, 7 Rescued by Coast Guard
Three people were found dead inside a 24-foot boat that capsized 75 miles northeast of West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday, the Coast Guard said.
Seven other people were rescued from atop the hull of the overturned boat carrying suspected migrants. Where they originated from remains unknown, Coast Guard spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo said in a statement. She also mentioned there were at least 12 people aboard the boat.
"Whether they're repatriated will all depend on their nationality which we don't have yet," Fajardo said, referring to the seven people rescued.
Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard's Miami Sector said it was still unconfirmed that the people were migrants, although that was "suspected."
Doss said Coast Guard officers will have a better idea of the situation once the rescued people are brought aboard the cutter Etheridge.
"Once we get the folks on board, we'll talk to them and then we'll have a better idea of where they're from," Doss said.
A Coast Guard rescue team aboard a HC-130 plane were still searching for two missing people on Thursday afternoon.
The Coast Guard Cutter Etheridge is expected to arrive at the scene Thursday evening to assist in the search for the other missing people as well as treatment of the suspected migrants.
Upon arrival, they will take over the operation from the Dutch navy and will transport those rescued to the Florida mainland, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sabrina Laberdesque told CNN.
The over turned boat was first discovered by the Royal Netherlands Navy ship Zeeland, which was headed to Key West, Florida on its way to the Caribbean, Coast Guard spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo told NBC News.
Migrants from Haiti, Cuba and other Caribbean countries frequently sail through the Bahamas in an attempt to reach the Florida coast.
At least three dead after boat capsizes
A small boat capsized off the coast of Florida and has resulted in several fatalities.