FLORIDA| The first sign something was wrong came Tuesday when Bahamian authorities reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Southeast Division to alert them that 20 people aboard a blue and white 29-foot Mako Cuddy Cabin vessel had gone missing. The passengers were in the oft-cited Bermuda Triangle.
The group, yet to be identified, was last known to have left Bimini on Monday en route to Lake Worth, the Coast Guard learned. They should have arrived that day.
But something went wrong somewhere in the waters between the Bahamas and South Florida — an area that encompasses the mythical section of the Atlantic oft-dubbed the Bermuda Triangle or Devil’s Triangle, unofficially bounded by Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico and covering about 500,000 square miles of ocean off the southeastern tip of Florida, according to the History Channel.
On Friday, after searching for about 84 hours and more than 17,000 square miles — roughly double the size of Massachusetts, the Coast Guard said — rescuers that included Air Station crews from Miami and Clearwater suspended their search.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the missing people,” Capt. Stephen V. Burdian of the Seventh District said in a statement. “I encourage anyone with information about the people aboard to contact us as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information on the crew of the Mako Cuddy Cabin or its whereabouts is asked to contact the District Seven Command Center at 305-415-6800.
Jose Hernandez, U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Petty Officer First Class, told CBS12 News that rough waters and the limited information they had on the boaters proved especially challenging during the search and rescue operation.
“The hardest thing is that the longer it takes to find somebody, they longer they can be drifting,” Hernandez told the station.
In addition to an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew from Miami and a C-130 Hercules aircrew from Clearwater and the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard cutters Robert Yered and Margaret Norvel, as well as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force surface units and Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association air assets and Patrick Air Force Base air asset were in on the search.