Coast Guard crews suspend search for missing person off of Fla., coast

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MIAMI — Coast Guard search-and-rescue crews suspended their search efforts for one missing person following the capsizing of a 24-foot center console vessel 75 miles northeast of West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday.

The incident was reported by the crew of His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Zeeland to Coast Guard Seventh District command center watchstanders Thursday.

The crew reported they were on scene with a capsized 24-foot center console vessel with seven suspected migrants atop the hull.

The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge and an HC-130 were diverted to the scene.

Upon discovering the vessel, the Zeeland rescued seven people and recovered three bodies.

The Zeeland was en route to Key West, Fla., before discovering the overturned vessel.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the people who lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Capt. Brendan McPherson, Coast Guard Seventh District chief of response.  “This is a tragic loss of life that appears to be at the hands of ruthless smugglers. Illegal migration is risky and dangerous.  Anyone transiting aboard a vessel attempting to enter the U.S. illegally risks suffering serious injuries or death,” added McPherson.

The search from the missing people were conducted by:

  • And HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge, a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter homeported in Miami.

Search-and-rescue crews searched a total 806 square miles.

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