3 dead, 7 rescued after boat capsizes off southern Florida

6:26 PM, Feb 6, 2014   |    comments
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(CNN) -- At least three people died and seven others were rescued Thursday after their boat capsized off the coast of southeastern Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

And that toll -- of the dead and rescued -- may rise: The Coast Guard believes that two more people may still be trapped or in the Atlantic Ocean, spurring an intense search for them.

A Dutch naval vessel -- the Royal Netherlands Navy Zeeland -- heading toward Key West, Florida, first alerted the U.S. Coast Guard at noon about the ship.

Specifically, the Coast Guard said, the Dutch sailors reported seeing "a capsized 24-foot center console vessel with seven suspected migrants atop the hull."

The Dutch sailors rescued those individuals and retrieved three bodies "from within the hull," according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has since sent the Cutter Richard Etheridge, a 154-foot ship based in Miami, to search for the two missing people. In addition, a C-130 airplane out of Clearwater, Florida, has been dispatched to the scene.

They are taking over the operation from the Dutch navy and will transport those rescued to the Florida mainland, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sabrina Laberdesque told CNN.

CNN first learned of the incident via that agency's Twitter account.

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