Coast Guard suspends search for boat carrying approximately 20 people
The Coast Guard announced Friday that it has suspended its search for a boat that did not arrive as expected in Florida days earlier. The Coast Guard said there were approximately 20 people on board.
The Coast Guard said it received a report on Tuesday that a 29-foot Mako Cuddy Cabin vessel, which had left Bimini, Bahamas, on Monday, did not arrive as expected in Lake Worth, Florida. The agency said it searched approximately 17,000 square miles for 84 hours to no avail.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the missing people,” said Captain Stephen V. Burdian, Seventh District Chief of Response. “I encourage anyone with information about the people aboard to contact us as soon as possible.”
CBS affiliate WPEC reported that the Coast Guard encountered multiple difficulties during the search, including rough waters and not knowing the identities of anyone on board or where exactly the boat was due to arrive.
“The hardest thing is that the longer it takes us to find somebody, the longer they can be drifting,” Jose Hernandez, U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Petty Officer First Class, told WPEC on Wednesday.
Speaking days before the search was called off, Hernandez said the Coast Guard only suspends a search “once we’ve already exhausted all of the assets and the information that we do have.”
“We want to find them, and finding them is our top priority, but we can only be out there for so long,” he said at the time.