16 People Missing Off Fla. Coast as U.S. Coast Guard Calls Off One Search and Launches Another
Six people were reported missing east of Fort Pierce while 10 others were missing south of Key West, officials said
A total of 16 people were missing off the coast of Florida on Tuesday as authorities called off one search and launched another.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) announced in a press release that they had suspended their search on Sunday for six people who went missing approximately 23 miles east of Fort Pierce.
Another search was underway for 10 people who went missing south of Key West, according to a tweet from the USCG on Monday.
The search for six people was launched last week after officials said they, along with a good Samaritan, rescued a Jamaican man from the water off the coast of Fort Pierce.
The man told the USCG that he and six other people were on their way from Bimini, in the Bahamas, when their boat capsized on Wednesday. According to the man, those other six people were missing in the water.
A photo of their boat in the water was later shared on the USCG's Twitter, showing only the tip of the vessel peaking out from the surface of the water.
Officials said they searched an area of 10,694 miles for a total of 140 hours but were unable to find the six people and called off the search on Sunday at 10:30 p.m.
"The decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case is never one we come to lightly," Capt. JoAnn Burdian, commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami, said in a statement. "We offer our deepest sympathies to the friends and families of those involved during this difficult time."
Shortly after the Jamaican man was rescued, USCG announced that 10 people were reported missing after leaving Havana, Cuba for Florida on Feb. 7 in a "six-foot makeshift vessel."
On Sunday, the USCG confirmed they were still searching for the group but noted that they had located their boat approximately eight miles south of Long Key.
Like the other vessel, the boat was almost completely under the surface of the water but has since been pulled to land.
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At this time, it is unclear how the second boat with 10 people initially went missing.
Authorities on Tuesday were continuing to search for any survivors by water and air.