Boat Packed with Haitian Migrants Headed for the U.S. Sinks in the Bahamas
Bahamas Severe // Boat Accident
NASSAU -- A Bahamas police spokeswoman reported on Monday that a boat loaded with Haitian migrants headed for the U.S. capsized and 11 bodies were recovered from the ocean. According to Royal Bahamas Police Inspector Chrislyn Skippings, the number of fatalities was likely to rise as investigators suspect that 28 Haitians were aboard the smuggler's boat when it departed from Abaco on Sunday. Skippings added that seven people were rescued and a search and rescue operation is ongoing for at least 10 people believed to be missing, including five children. The vessel was headed to Florida when it had engine problems and started to take on water. After hearing about the tragedy, the U.S. Coast Guard sent a plane and a chopper to help search for survivors. For years, Haitian migrants have been sailing to the Bahamas in an attempt to flee severe poverty in the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. Majority of the migrants try to gain entry to the U.S., though some elect to stay in the Bahamas. Abaco is located approximately 290 km east of Florida and has a population of about 13,000 people. Hundreds of Haitians have been living in shantytowns in Abaco for years in spite of threats from the government to evict them. The Bahamas is over 600 km northeast of Haiti and migrants sneak into the area illegally by boat, spending up to $500 for the dangerous journey.
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