Shipwreck off the coast of Florida leaves 39 people missing

The US Coast Guard said it is searching for 39 people missing after the boat they were on, believed to be used for human smuggling, capsized off the coast of Florida on its way from the Bahamas.

According to the authorities, the alert was made on Tuesday around 08:00 by a sailor who picked up a passenger who managed to get stuck in the boat. The survivor said the boat was carrying 39 people and none of the passengers were wearing life jackets.

On Tuesday, several ships and planes took part in the search for missing persons between Bimini, a small archipelago east of Miami, and Fort Pierce in the north.

The Coast Guard said it feared this was a suspected case of people smuggling.

The Bahamas, an archipelago of 700 islands (including 39 inhabited) located 80 km southeast of the coast of Florida, near Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti, is regularly used as a transit route for immigrants seeking to reach the United States, and as a springboard for Haitians living in the archipelago .

*With information from Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press

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