Monday, November 20, 2017
Public safety

Four dead after boat capsizes off South Florida coast

RECOMMENDED READING


MIAMI — Four women died and 10 people were taken into custody after a boat with more than a dozen people aboard — including Haitian and Jamaican nationals — capsized early Wednesday in the waters off South Florida.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded around 1 a.m. after a 911 call alerted authorities to an overturned recreational vessel seven miles east of Miami.

Nine people were found clinging to the hull, Petty Officer Mark Barney said.

A 10th person was taken by boat to Miami Beach, where he was treated at a hospital and released, Barney said.

The group was taken into custody and authorities were investigating whether the victims and survivors were part of a human smuggling operation.

The nine people found clinging to the hull were Haitian and Jamaican nationals, but the nationalities of the rest of the group were not immediately known, Barney said.

The bodies of four women were recovered from the water. The Coast Guard was no longer searching for possible survivors, Cmdr. Darren Caprara said.

The survivors rescued from the water were still on a Coast Guard vessel at sea and it was unclear whether they would be brought to the U.S. or repatriated. All the survivors were in good condition, Caprara said.

Images of the vessel show a small white boat with its center console missing. It was overloaded and lacked lifejackets, Caprara said.

Migrants from Haiti, Cuba and other Caribbean countries routinely attempt to illegally enter the U.S. by reaching Florida's coast in overloaded or unseaworthy vessels.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Coast Guard picked up 508 Haitians and 1,357 Cubans at sea. Since the new fiscal year began Oct. 1, the Coast Guard has reported picking up 93 Haitians and 117 Cubans.

The number of migrants who die in the crossing or disappear into the community after successfully reaching shore is unknown.

Cubans who arrive in the U.S. are generally allowed to stay under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, while those stopped at sea are usually returned home. Other immigrants do not receive the same treatment.

Comments
Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

APOLLO BEACH — The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Tampa Electric $18,108 and gave the company two "serious" citations for its response to a gas leak at the Big Bend Power Station in May, the agency announced late Friday.T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
David Straz adds $10,000 to reward for arrest in Seminole Heights killings

David Straz adds $10,000 to reward for arrest in Seminole Heights killings

TAMPA — The David A. Straz Foundation is contributing $10,000 to the reward for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings.The contribution brings the total to $110,000.Straz is a philanthropist and retired banker who is explor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

ST. PETERSBURG — Police Chief Tony Holloway has made getting officers out of their cars, walking streets and talking to residents a key plank in his effort to improve relations between his department and the community.But three years into his adminis...
Updated: 5 hours ago

FHP: St. Petersburg man, 24, died while trying to cross state road in St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD — A St. Petersburg man died Sunday night after he was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross a highway, authorities said. Matthew Mitchell, 24, walked into the path of a 2008 Ford sport utility vehicle as he was trying to cross U.S. ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

LARGO — The classroom was full, but the chatter was quiet as the students picked at doughnuts and sipped coffee from paper cups.Many were strangers to each other, but the reason they showed up at the Largo Police Department on a sunny Saturday mornin...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Deputies: Port Richey woman arrested for hitting boy, 4, with hanger

PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey woman was arrested on a charge of felony child abuse after a 4-year-old boy in her care told deputies she hit him with a clothes hanger, leaving bruises, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Teresa White-Fry, 38, was arr...
Updated: 7 hours ago

St. Petersburg pedestrian fatally struck in Osceola County

A pedestrian from St. Petersburg was killed Sunday night when he was struck by an SUV in Osceola County.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 24-year-old Matthew Mitchell was struck along on U.S. 192 at Pine Grove Road in St. Cloud around 7 p.m.Tr...
Updated: 7 hours ago

FHP seeks New Port Richey hit-and-run driver who left man severely injured

NEW PORT RICHEY — Police are searching for the driver of a vehicle that left a New Port Richey man seriously injured after a hit and run Sunday evening, according to Florida Highway Patrol.Randy Pearson, 58, tried to walk across State Road 54, west o...
Updated: 8 hours ago
In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

TAMPA — For weeks, Tampa police have saturated Southeast Seminole Heights, working long hours to catch a killer. Today, residents will say thanks with a sit-down supper.Several dozen volunteers with four neighborhood associations will serve up baked ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 9 hours ago