According to a survivor, the group had set sail from Bimini, Bahamas before hitting inclement weather conditions.
In a statement the US Coast Guard reiterated how dangerous it was to sail in the area in small unsafe vessels.
They said: “Navigating the Florida Straits, Windward and Mona Passages in overloaded and less than seaworthy passages is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of life.
“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies will continue to stop these voyages.
“You will be interdicted and should expect to be returned and repatriated to your country of origin.”
According to the survivor, who hasn’t been identified, none of the passengers on the boat were wearing a life jacket.
US officials have indicated that the boat may have been part of a “human smuggling venture”.
On Twitter the Miami Coast Guard said they were leading the search with ships and aircraft.
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