Death Toll Rises in People Smuggling Tragedy

By MarEx 2014-02-07 20:10:00

US Coast Guard crews have suspended their search efforts for the last missing person following the capsizing of a 24-foot center console vessel 75 miles northeast of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The incident was reported by the crew of His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Zeeland on Thursday. The crew reported they were on scene with a capsized 24-foot center console vessel with seven suspected migrants atop the hull. The Zeeland rescued the seven people and recovered three bodies. A fourth person was later found and confirmed dead. 

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the people who lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Capt. Brendan McPherson, Coast Guard Seventh District chief of response. "This is a tragic loss of life that appears to be at the hands of ruthless smugglers. Illegal migration is risky and dangerous. Anyone transiting aboard a vessel attempting to enter the U.S. illegally risks suffering serious injuries or death," added McPherson.

Search-and-rescue crews searched a total 806 square miles.