Lone Survivor Of Migrant Boat Which Capsized Killing 39 Others Recounts Horrific Tale

Juan Esteban Montoya, pictured atop the capsized boat, off the Floridan coast. (Image: AFP)

The man whose photo atop a capsized boat off the coast of Florida was seen by many across the planet has been identified as Juan Esteban Montoya, a Colombian.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated:January 28, 2022, 13:38 IST

Juan Esteban Montoya, rescued from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, is now known to the world. His photo, accessed by thousands across the world, saw him sitting atop a capsized boat trying to cling on to his life, which the 39 others travelling with him could not.

Juan was among those migrants who died after their boat capsized off the coast of Florida. Several experts have highlighted that many from countries like Cuba, Bahamas and Guatemala who try to cross into the US often lose their lives when boats capsize. These migrants on these boats are often without basic healthcare necessities and even life-jackets.

The Colombian was approached by the crew of Signet Intruder who immediately gave him water and some soft food. “At 8:05 we brought him on board and he was treated immediately, since he was dehydrated, and we gave him water and some soft food. He was very weak and very anguished,” a Signet shipping company official was quoted as saying by BBC Mundo. The official further said that Juan told the crew there were 40 people in his boat in total and left Bimini at midnight from Saturday to Sunday but the ship capsized due to bad weather.

The US Coast Guard officials told news agencies that the boat could have been a part of the human smuggling venture. Juan said that none of them wore a life jacket while being on the vessel. The US Coast Guard earlier on Friday announced that they ended its search for over 30 missing people and were successful in recovering bodies of only 5 migrants.

Bimini, the westernmost district of the Bahamas, is used as a jumping-off point for getting migrants from Latin, Central and South American countries into the United States. The picture also brought the focus once more on the migrant crisis across the world where citizens of poorer nations often take life risks to immigrate to US which has a far more robust economy.

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