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Four bodies found floating off Florida coast prompt questions

(Reuters) - U.S. authorities trying to determine what happened to four men whose bodies were found floating off the Atlantic coast of Florida said a search by air and sea on Monday had turned up no additional victims or any signs of a boat or wreckage.

The U.S. Coast Guard was no longer actively searching as of Monday afternoon but asked boaters to report anything that might be related to the bodies discovered on Sunday in debris in the Atlantic Ocean near Hollywood, Florida, said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss.

"We’re hoping we find some sort of vessel or debris to give us a clue about what happened," Doss said.

The four bodies were found about 20 nautical miles (37 km) off the coast, the Coast Guard said.

Aerial teams had spotted what appeared to be other bodies on Sunday, but none turned up during subsequent searches by the Coast Guard overnight and early on Monday, Doss said.

A total of 1,923 square nautical miles (6,596 square kilometers) were covered during the search, he said.

The investigation began on Sunday after two people boating near Hollywood between Miami and Fort Lauderdale spotted two male bodies. Two more male bodies were later recovered.

The Broward County medical examiner's office will investigate the men's identities, as well as the time and cause of death, Doss said.

It was unclear whether the victims were from the United States, Cuba or another Caribbean country. Cubans sometimes attempt flee the communist-ruled island by using rafts or other flimsy craft to reach Florida, where they can stay if they set foot on dry land.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Walsh)

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