A boat carrying 15 migrants capsized off Miami Beach shortly after midnight Wednesday, drowning four women, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The passengers are believed to be from Haiti and Jamaica.
The Coast Guard reported that it rescued survivors
from the capsized boat after receiving a call about 1 a.m. from Miami-Dade County 911. The overturned vessel was found seven miles from shore.
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"It was difficult to ascertain truly how many people were on this overloaded vessel," Commander Darren Caprara, chief response officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami, told the Miami Herald
The Herald wrote that 10 of the survivors were holding on to the outside of the boat. One of them displayed seizure symptoms and was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center for treatment before being released, U.S. Customs and Border Protection told the Miami Herald.
Caprara said to the Herald that when the Coast Guard righted the ship, officers discovered one other survivor and the bodies of the four victims.
"He was able to cling to life by finding an air pocket under the vessel," Caprara told the Miami Herald about the last survivor.
The Coast Guard reported to the Miami Herald that the capsized boat was brought to shore for an investigation before being turned over to border authorities.
The names and nationalities of those rescued and dead were being withheld by authorities until relatives were notified.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the deceased," Capt. Austin Gould, commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami, told the Sun-Sentinel
. "This tragic case reiterates the dangers of traveling aboard an overcrowded boat at night with no safety equipment on board."
Refugees trying to make it to the Florida coast is a common occurrence. Earlier this month, Coast Guard officials returned eight Dominican migrants Oct. 10 after locating a boat with them about 15 nautical miles of Mona Island, Puerto Rico, said coast officials. (http://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-repatriates-8-dominican-migrants-to-cap-cana-dominican-republic/2013/10/09/)
The Coast Guard found the migrants on a makeshift boat and took the men into custody. The Coast Guard reported that the migrants were investigated for past criminal records and illegal immigration activities before they were returned.
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