A boat carrying Haitian migrants appeared to have capsized off the Bahamas early Sunday, and Bahamian security forces recovered the bodies of 17 people and rescued 25 others, authorities said.
It was unclear if there were any people missing after the boat sank about seven miles off New Providence.
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davies said in a statement that the dead included 15 women, one man and an infant. He said the rescued people were taken for observation by paramedics.
Davis said investigators had determined that a twin-engine speedboat left the Bahamas at about 1 a.m., carrying up to 60 people, apparently bound for Miami.
Davis said a criminal investigation had been launched into the suspected people-smuggling operation.
“I would like to convey the condolences of my government and the people of the Bahamas to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” Davis said. “My government, since taking office, has warned against these fraudulent trips.”
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he sympathized with the parents of the victims.
“This new drama saddens the entire nation,” he said. “I launch, once again, an appeal for national reconciliation to solve the problems that drive away from our soil, our brothers, our sisters, our children.”
A year after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Mose last July, gang violence has worsened and Haiti has gone into freefall that has sent the economy into a tailspin. Efforts to form a coalition government have failed and efforts to hold general elections have stalled. The unrest has led a growing number of people to flee the country of more than 11 million in search of a better and safer life.
Several shipwrecks involving migrants have occurred in the Caribbean this year, including one in May in which 11 people were confirmed dead and 38 rescued off the coast of Puerto Rico. Another incident in January saw one man rescued and another confirmed dead after a boat carrying 40 migrants crashed off Florida, with the missing never being found.
Governments in the region, including the United States, have reported an increase in the number of Haitians being detained trying to enter other countries.
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17 dead, including infant, after boat carrying Haitian migrants sinks off coast of the Bahamas Source link 17 dead, including infant, after boat carrying Haitian migrants sinks off coast of the Bahamas