The bodies of three women thought to be Haitian migrants (search) washed ashore on a South Florida beach, authorities said.

The women, whose bodies were found early Saturday, were among a group that included up to 12 other people who apparently were trying to illegally migrate to the United States, said sheriff's spokeswoman Liz Calzadilla-Fiallo.

A deputy saw 10 to 12 people running from the water nearby, Calzadilla-Fiallo said.

No identification was found but the women were believed to be from Haiti and in their 20s and 30s, she said. They were found at three locations along an oceanfront road, she said.

The U.S. Coast Guard (search) searched waters near the coastline where the women were found but found no boat, said Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Five people in the group were detained. Four were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol and the fifth, who was injured, was taken to Broward General Medical Center for treatment, Calzadilla-Fiallo said.

Authorities are investigating whether the group was part of a smuggling operation, said Steve McDonald, border patrol spokesman. All the people in custody were Haitian nationals, he said.