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15 Dead, Dozens Missing After Haitian Boat Sinks

The U.S. Coast Guard says it is continuing to work with Turks and Caicos officials in searching for nearly 70 Haitian migrants who are still missing after their vessel capsized Monday in waters off the coast of the British territory.

Authorities say as many as 200 people were on board the vessel when it hit a reef and sank. At least 15 people were killed and 118 others rescued.

The Coast Guard says that as time goes by, the possibility for survival diminishes. But Petty Officer First Class Jennifer Johnson told VOA Creole Service there is no indication the search would stop in the coming hours.

Johnson also said she could not speculate on when the migrants would be sent back to Haiti. She did say some survivors were receiving medical care in the Turks and Caicos while others were in custody.

Haitian migrants often take to the seas in overcrowded boats for the perilous journey from their country, which is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. They are seeking a better life in nearby islands or in the United States.

The Turks and Caicos islands are located north of Hispaniola, the island comprising Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.