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One dead after Haitian migrants come ashore near Fort Lauderdale

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - One woman died early on Monday as 20 Haitian migrants being transported by an illegal smuggling operation came ashore near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, law enforcement officials said.

The group was "released into the water" and officials were alerted after some members made it to land shortly after 2a.m., said Gina Carter, a spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff's Office.

A second woman was rescued from the surf, treated by fire rescue and taken to a nearby hospital.

No boat was found and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained the group, which includes five children. Homeland Security is investigating the smuggling operation.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there appeared to be no connection between that group and four bodies which were spotted about 20 nautical miles (37 km) off the coast on Sunday.

A Coast Guard vessel searched overnight for any signs of a boat, additional bodies or people in distress, and a search by air resumed early on Monday, said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by Daniel Wallis, David Adams and Andrew Hay)

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