18 Haitian migrants die in boat capsizing off Turks and Caicos
12/25/2013 11:22 AM
12/25/2013 12:46 PM
Eighteen Haitian migrants died Wednesday after their boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands, according to reports.
The capsizing happened sometime after 3 a.m. about 150 yards from the island of Providenciales, said Neil Smith, a spokesman for the government. The cause was not immediately known but overloading was a likely factor, he said.
According to the Turks and Caicos government, the sloop capsized as it was being towed to a dock to offload the migrants.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter is assisting in the search for additional migrants. More than 50 migrants were tossed into the water and more than 30 were rescued, according to the Coast Guard.
Several survivors escaped at shore, according to the government.
Turks and Caicos, southeast of the Bahamas, is a frequent destination for Haitian migrants seeking to escape their impoverished country and find work in the British territory's construction and tourism industries.
In November, an overloaded migrant sloop overturned in the southern Bahamas and an estimated 30 people drowned. The area is dotted with many tiny islands, reefs and patches of shallow water, making it treacherous for boaters and a frequent transit zone for smugglers seeking to evade capture.
This bulletin will be updated as more information becomes available.
Oops, you haven't selected any newsletters. Please check the box next to one or more of our email newsletters and submit again.
Oops, you didn't provide a valid email address. Please double-check the email field and submit again.
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.