Four women died and 10 other people were taken into custody after a boat with more than a dozen people aboard, including Haitian and Jamaican nationals, capsized early yesterday in the waters off South Florida.
The US 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, said Petty Officer Mark Barney.
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 more possible survivors, Commander Darren Caprara said yesterday.
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 US or repatriated. All the survivors were in good condition, Caprara said.