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Death Toll in Haiti Migrant Boat Sinking at 28

FILE - Boats are seen as palms are moved by the wind in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Sept. 7, 2017. A boat with Haitian migrants sank off the Bahamas Saturday.

Authorities in the Bahamas have put the death toll from the Haitian migrant boat sinking at 28.

The Royal Bahamas Defense Force say they were able to rescue 17 survivors, including two found stranded on a cay Sunday.

The bodies of the other victims were found in the sunken boat or floating in the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard helped with the rescue efforts.

The boat sank Saturday about 10 kilometers off the Abaco Islands, just north of the Bahamas.

The U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince called the vessel a people-trafficking boat and warns "No journey is worth risking lives. Please urge families and communities: illegal migrant smuggling and operations are dangerous and frequently end in tragedy."

Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country and thousands who cannot get visas to go elsewhere try to get to other Caribbean islands or North America.

Officials in the Bahamas say they have arrested 300 illegal Haitian migrants so far this year, which is only a month old.