A South Florida boater who spent days reportedly missing at sea has been found alive, but now a human smuggling investigation is underway, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Wednesday.
Juan Evelio Ferrer Gonzales, 54, had been last heard from on Sunday after he left Bimini enroute to Bayfront Park in Homestead on his 22-foot Chris Craft boat.
Air crews had been searching for Ferrer Gonzales after he had been reported missing, but officials confirmed Wednesday that crews found him alive.
A Good Samaritan had reported finding a disabled boat with two people aboard about 10 miles from Jupiter Inlet around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said.
When Coast Guard crews responded, they found Ferrer Gonzales and his reported step-son, a non-U.S. citizen, officials said.
Ferrer Gonzales had reportedly run out of fuel but officials said the case is under investigation for suspected human smuggling.
"Maritime migration is dangerous and illegal," Coast Guard Lt. Karolina Del Hierro Vega said in a statement. "Human smuggling ventures, whether paid for or made by a friend or family member, are subject to criminal and civil penalties."
No other information was immediately known.
Check back with NBC 6 for updates.
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