The United States Coast Guard reported this Thursday the discovery of four lifeless bodies during the search operation for survivors of the shipwreck of a boat with immigrants off the coast of Florida.
In this way, there are already five confirmed victims of the shipwreck that occurred last Sunday, which was learned by a survivor rescued on Tuesday.
During a press conference offered today, Captain Jo-Ann Burdian, commander of the Miami sector in the Coast Guard, after expressing her condolences to the relatives, reported that the four bodies have been found in the last 24 hours, but gave no further information. details.
Similarly, he added that the operation will most likely be suspended by the end of this afternoon, unless they obtain “additional specific information” that can narrow the search. “We don’t think there are likely to be more survivors,” the officer acknowledged.
In the last 48 hours, Coast Guard troops have covered an area comparable to the surface of the state of New Jersey, that is, 8,723 square miles (22,500 square km), during which a search by sea and air has been carried out.
As announced today, three Coast Guard ships, two boats from this institution, two US Navy ships and six planes have been used in the operation that began on Tuesday.
The sole survivor, a 22-year-old man who was afloat on the hull of the capsized boat, said the boat capsized shortly after he and 39 others left for Florida from Bimini Island on Saturday night. the Bahamas.
The young man is in “stable” condition in a Florida hospital, and in the custody of US immigration authorities.
The 25-foot (7.6-meter) long vessel capsized due to bad weather and storm surge, according to the coastguard.
Officer Anthony Salisbury, of the National Security Investigation Agency (HSI), said in his turn that the case is treated as a criminal investigation into possible smuggling of undocumented immigrants.
The investigation is in its initial phase, however, the case could lead to charges of “human trafficking with death”, according to federal authorities, who refrained from reporting the nationalities of the occupants of the boat and other related details.
In a statement to the Miami channel Telemundo 51, the mother of the only survivor, a Hispanic woman who identified herself as Marcia, revealed that she managed to talk to her son on the phone and that he told her that there were minors and even babies on the boat. .
The woman revealed to the media that her 18-year-old daughter is also among the disappeared, whom she already considers dead, according to the story told by her son.
“He told me: ‘Mom, my sister died, my sister drowned, I looked for her and I couldn’t find her. I called her and called her and my sister couldn’t take it’. It was the only thing he told me, “said the mother, visibly moved.
“He clung to what was left of the boat, as seen in the photo,” explained the woman about the circumstances in which her son managed to save himself and described it as a “miracle.”
The mother asked the US immigration authorities for “understanding” and to release her son.