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Coast Guard calls off search for missing boat with about 20 aboard

U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue crews (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS)

A search that covered more than 17,000 square miles, over 80 hours, between the Bahamas and Florida has ended with no sign of a missing boat with an estimated 20 people aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday.

The 29-foot blue and white Mako Cubby Cabin departed Bimini on Monday bound for Lake Worth Beach, but Bahamian authorities reported it missing and sought the Coast Guard’s help.

Coast Guard air and sea crews and aircraft from Patrick Air Force base in Brevard County were assisting the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association with the search.

There was no information about the name of the boat or those on board. There was no signal received from an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon either, said Petty Officer Jose Hernandez.

“When it touches the water or if it’s activated in an emergency it would send us the location of that [vessel],” he said. “It makes it a lot easier for us to deploy to that location.”

The media attention has generated some calls from people offering information, but none has brought rescuers any closer to finding the missing boat.

The disappearance without a trace prompted speculation that it may be a smuggling vessel that is trying to avoid detection, but that does not matter to the Coast Guard.

“We don’t care if they’re illegals or drug trafficking,” Hernandez said. “We don’t want any lives lost at sea.”

Anyone with information about the missing blue and white Mako Cuddy Cabin is asked to contact the Coast Guard District Seven Command Center at 305-415-6800.

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