The Latest: Official: 21 missing after Venezuelan boat sinks

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the boat that sank in the Caribbean Sea (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

Officials say they are searching for 25 people now believed missing from a boat that left Venezuela and sank in the Caribbean Sea before reaching the nearby island of Trinidad.

Lt. Kerron Valere of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard said Thursday the number initially believed to be aboard the boat has grown. The small craft left Venezuela on Tuesday and overturned in rough seas.

Valere says they’ve discovered several passengers on the boat who were not listed as approved crew members and passengers.

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He says so far nine have been pulled alive from the water.

Some survivors were found drifting up to 34 miles (55 kilometers) from where the boat sank.

Roughly 3.7 million Venezuelans have fled the crisis-wracked nation in recent years, some on overloaded boats headed to neighboring islands.

2:20 p.m.

Officials say they’re searching for 21 people who are missing after a boat sank in the Caribbean Sea off the shore of Venezuela.

Lt. Kerron Valere of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard said Thursday that four passengers have been rescued. The small craft left Venezuela a day earlier and overturned in rough seas.

Valere says Venezuela is leading the search for the missing within that nation’s waters, and the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is assisting.

Venezuelan officials say that most of the passengers were women, and the boat overturned near the island of Patos, roughly 5 miles (8 kilometers) from land.

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Officials had initially reported that the boat was carrying 35 passengers.

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1:45 p.m.

Dozens of Venezuelans were missing after a boat en route to the island of Trinidad sunk in the Caribbean Sea, authorities said Thursday.

An official from the country’s civil protection agency said a team is searching for those who may have drowned after the ‘Yonaily Jose’ boat sank in rough seas on its way to the island early Wednesday.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

In recent years, an estimated 3.7 million Venezuelans have fled the crisis-wracked country where a political struggle is now playing out between U.S.-backed opposition lawmaker Juan Guaidó and socialist President Nicolás Maduro.

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