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Coast Guard suspends search for 2 passengers of capsized boat

Officials say vessel was part of smuggling operation from Bahamas to Miami

The Coast Guard said several cutters and aircraft took part in the search.

MIAMI – The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for two people missing from a Miami-bound boat that capsized Sunday about 46 miles off the coast of Palm Beach County.

Officials said the boat was part of a smuggling operation that ferried migrants from Freeport, Bahamas, to Miami. The three people were described as a suspected migrant smuggler from the Bahamas and 9-year-old Haitian national. 

The 18-foot boat capsized with 11 people aboard. A good Samaritan vessel rescued nine of the passengers Sunday.

"This case is a tragic reminder of the dangers of illegal migrant smuggling and these smuggling networks reckless regard for those they are trafficking. Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly," said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, Coast Guard 7th District chief of response. 

The Coast Guard said several cutters and aircraft conduct a search that lasted 69 hours and covered 4,154 square miles.