Four women died Wednesday when a boat carrying 15 migrants capsized off Miami Beach, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The boaters are believed to be from Haiti and Jamaica.
Clinging to the side of the overturned boat, one of the 11 survivors placed a 911 call from his cellphone at about 1 a.m.
Miami-Dade Police contacted the Coast Guard, which launched rescue boats and a helicopter to the distress site, about seven nautical miles southeast of Government Cut.
“It was difficult to ascertain truly how many people were on this overloaded vessel,” said Commander Darren Caprara, chief response officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami.
Ten of the survivors were holding on to the outside of the boat. One of them, displaying seizure symptoms, was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center for treatment, then released to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Caprara said.
The Coast Guard righted the ship, discovering one additional survivor as well as the four victims’ bodies.
“He was able to cling to life by finding an air pocket under the vessel,” Caprara said of the 11th survivor.
Caprara said Coast Guard rescuers were confident that all of the boaters were accounted for, and that the case will be turned over to border authorities for further investigation. The migrants’ 25-foot white boat with a cut-out center console was towed to a marina dry dock.