MIAMI — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search on Friday for an overdue boat that was headed to Florida from the Bahamas with 20 people aboard, after the authorities said they had exhausted their efforts to find it.
The boat, a blue-and-white 29-foot Mako Cuddy Cabin, departed from Bimini, the Bahamas, on Monday, the Coast Guard said.
The boat did not arrive as expected in Lake Worth Beach, Fla., which is about 10 miles south of Palm Beach.
The Coast Guard said it and other agencies, including the authorities from the Bahamas, searched about 17,000 square miles for more than three days.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the missing people,” said Capt. Stephen V. Burdian, the chief of response for the Seventh District. “I encourage anyone with information about the people aboard to contact us as soon as possible.”
The authorities in the Bahamas reported the boat missing on Tuesday after a family member of someone on board didn’t get a call that the boat had made the 140-mile trip to South Florida, Petty Officer Third Class Jose Hernandez said on Saturday.
Many details about the trip, including why the boat was going to Florida, which part of Lake Worth Beach it was headed to, the capacity of the boat and the names and nationalities of those on board, were not immediately known, Petty Officer Hernandez said.
He said it’s always a difficult decision to suspend a search. The search and an investigation could resume if officials gain new credible information about the boat, he said. Initial reports indicated that 20 people had been on board but that number could change with more information, he added.
“This entire time, it was a search-and-rescue case,” he said. “At this time, the suspension just means that we’re focusing on other cases until we do get more information, then we’ll search for this particular vessel and people.”