The bodies of 10 Haitian migrants were discovered in the Turks and Caicos Islands Tuesday, where a search for survivors and possibly more casualties is expected to resume Wednesday.
Police found at least five of the bodies ashore after being called at 6:34 a.m. to a secluded area of Providenciales about people “running into the bushes on the northwest point,” said Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force spokesman Kevin Clarke.
Immigration and police officers were immediately dispatched, and the U.S. Coast Guard was also called in to help with a massive search.
“We know there are survivors, but none has been captured by the police,” Clarke said.
A small fishing boat, painted in the blue and red colors of the Haitian flag, was seen capsized along the beach. Clarke said police officers have yet to confirm if that is the boat on which the migrants traveled.
“It’s a very small boat,” he said. “We still don’t know how many persons came.”
It is unclear how the migrants may have died, but the waters off the island’s northwest point can be treacherous especially during bad weather like the kind the islands experienced Tuesday morning.
A secluded area with dense foliage, the northwest point has become popular with Haitians trying to illegally enter the island. It’s far from the radar station on the southern side of the island that’s used by the British territory to detect undocumented migrants trying to enter its waters.
A British territory that elected its first female premier in December, the Turks and Caicos is located 575 miles southeast of Miami and 190 miles from Haiti’s northern coast. Undocumented migration from Haiti is one of its biggest challenges.