A U.S. Coast Guard crew spent Sunday night searching for debris and other clues after four people were found dead, floating about 20 miles off Hollywood beach.
As of late Sunday, Coast Guard spokesman Mark Barney said it was not clear how the bodies wound up in the water or where they came from.
“All we know are the bodies were in bad condition,” he said. “So the bodies were in the water a decent amount time.”
At about 10 a.m. Sunday, good Samaritans spotted two of the bodies and called the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard crews later found two other bodies, one man and one woman, Barney said. All the bodies were found within about two miles of each other.
Through the day, crews searched by air and sea over 60 miles for any other people that may be dead or in distress. The HC-144 aircraft was set to stop for the night at sundown. The Cutter Dolphin was equipped to search through the night for any other bodies or signs of a boat or debris.
“There was no identification on the bodies to lead us to the direction of where they are from,” Barney said. “We are trying to find out how they got there.”
The bodies have been transferred to the Broward medical exminer’s office, Barney said.
Authorities said they have not determined whether the dead were migrants trying to make it ashore.
That has been the scenario several times this year and in 2013 off the South Florida coast.
In February, four people were found dead northeast of West Palm Beach after their boat capsized. In January, a Haitian migrant died and eight others were detained at Fort Lauderdale beach. And in October 2013, four Haitian women died in a boating tragedy off Miami Beach.
On Saturday, Bahamas military officials intercepted a sloop off Ragged Island with more than 100 Haitians aboard. Ragged Island is more than 380 miles from Broward County. The Haitians were taken into custody and detained at the island police station, according to the Bahamas defense force. There was no immediate indication anyone was missing from that boat.