Four women died Wednesday when a boat overloaded with migrants, apparently Haitians and Jamaicans, capsized near Miami, but 11 other people were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The boat was about 7.6 meters (25 feet) long and capsized Wednesday morning some 14 km (9 miles) from the U.S. coast, trapping four women and a man under its hull, Coast Guard spokesperson Marilyn Fajardo told Efe.
When Coast Guard personnel managed to turn the boat upright they found the bodies of the four women, but the man - who had managed to survive by finding an air pocket - was still alive, albeit "in convulsions," Fajardo said.
In the water next to the boat, the Coast Guard reportedly rescued a total of nine men and two women, one of them a teenager and none of whom was wearing a life jacket.
"We believe this is a case of human smuggling and, at this time, the authorities are investigating the case," said the spokesperson, adding that "search and rescue efforts have been suspended."
Despite the fact that there has, as yet, been no official confirmation of the nationalities of the migrants, they are probably of Haitian and Jamaican origin, Fajardo said.
The man who was rescued from underneath the boat's hull was taken to the local Customs and Border Protection facility and from there to Mount Sinai Hospital on Miami Beach, where he is recovering.
The rest of the survivors are currently on board a Coast Guard vessel at sea, where they are receiving medical care and food while "the investigative process begins." EFE