Four people died Wednesday when a boat overloaded with migrants capsized off Miami Beach, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The boaters are believed to be from Haiti and Jamaica. 10 people were found clinging to the hull of the boat, and an 11th was rescued when authorities righted the vessel, according to the Miami Herald on Oct. 15. It's unknown what the fate of the survivors will be as they remain aboard a Coast Guard rescue vessel.
The four dead were all women, and those who were rescued were taken into custody. The U.S. Coast Guard responded to a 911 distress call made from one of the survivor's cell phone at around 1 a.m..
Miami-Dade Police relayed the call to the Coast Guard, which launched multiple rescue boats and a helicopter to the distress site, located about seven nautical miles southeast of Miami.
Commander Darren Caprara, chief response officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami, said it was difficult to determine exactly how many people were traveling aboard the vessel when it capsized.
However, Caprara added that they're confident all of the boaters are now accounted for. One survivor was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center after showing signs of a seizure, and was later released to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
When the Coast Guard righted the ship, they discovered the additional survivor who stayed alive by managing to find an air pocket underneath the boat. That's also where they found the bodies of the four female victims.
Authorities are investigating whether the occupants of the boat were part of a human smuggling operation. As the survivors remain aboard a Coast Guard vessel at sea, it's unclear whether they will be brought to the U.S. or repatriated.
All the survivors were in good condition. Images of the vessel reveal a small 25-foot white boat with its center console missing. It was not only overloaded with passengers, but also lacked any life jackets, Caprara said.
Immigrant-hopefuls routinely travel in overloaded and typically unseaworthy vessels in a futile attempt to reach United States shores.
In the last fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the Coast Guard reports they plucked 508 Haitians and 1,357 Cubans from vessels at sea, according to ABC News.
The number of migrants who perish while crossing, or who disappear after successfully reaching shore is unknown.