The U.S. Coast Guard got called into action after 17 bodies washed ashore along the Haitian coast in what authorities say was a failed effort to leave the country.
Working with the Haitian Coast Guard, the Coast Guard’s Seventh District MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew conducted three searches Friday between Cap-Haïtien and Port-de-Paix, Haiti.
The Haitian Coast Guard rescued 12 survivors, but said there might be 19 still missing from a sail freighter that ran aground. The USCG, which deployed from Great Inagua in the Bahamas, has discontinued the search, but its cutter, the Key Largo, remains in the area.
“The sad truth remains that many have already perished and the Coast Guard urges all to reconsider taking the dangerous and illegal voyage at sea. Our condolences go out to all affected by this tragedy,” Capt. Mark Fedor, the USCG Seventh District chief of response, said in a press release.
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Recently, there’s been a spike in the number of Haitian migrants found at sea. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, U.S. authorities captured, intercepted, or chased away at least 5,585 Haitians, which was the highest number of Haitian migrants documented in the last five years, according to the USCG.
According to federal law, residency can be granted only to Cubans who reach U.S. soil. Anyone else can be detained and deported.
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