Accessibility links

30 Haitian Migrants Killed as Freighter Capsizes

  • VOA News

At least 30 Haitian migrants have died after an overloaded freighter with more than 100 on board capsized in the Bahamas.

Video of the rescue released by the U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday shows survivors clinging to every available space on the overturned vessel.

About 110 people have been rescued from the boat so far, including 19 women.

The 40-foot, sail-powered coastal freighter that ran aground and capsized near Staniel Cay in the central Bahamas on Monday night, officials said.

Thirteen severely dehydrated survivors were hoisted aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and taken to Staniel Cay for treatment, U.S. and Bahamian officials said.

Crews in U.S. Coast Guard planes and helicopters dropped 10 quick-inflating life rafts into the water to help keep the other survivors afloat until a Royal Bahamas Defense Force patrol boat could take them aboard, said Petty Officer Mark Barney, a Coast Guard spokesman in Miami.

Bad weather and rough seas were reportedly hampering rescue efforts. Winds were as strong as 30 miles per hour while waves were as large as 5 feet, the Coast Guard said.

The cause of the accident was unknown and will be investigated by Bahamian authorities, Barney said.

Migrants from Haiti, Cuba and other Caribbean countries frequently sail through the Bahamas in an attempt to reach the United States, often in overloaded and unseaworthy vessels.

Miami is more than 600 miles from Haiti's northern coast, where such voyages frequently begin.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it has interdicted 346 Haitian migrants at sea in the past two months. The total for the whole year ended Sept. 30 was 508, the smallest number from Haiti in 15 years.

Bahamian authorities plan to continue sweeping the area for survivors or the remains of migrants.

Most will eventually be sent back to Haiti.

Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.
XS
SM
MD
LG