CaribWorldNews, PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos, Weds. July 29, 2009: U.S. Coast Guard officials were yesterday still searching the waters near the Turks and Caicos Islands for dozens of missing Haitians.
The Haitians were on a small boat that ran aground and capsized in reef-studded waters off the near West Caicos Island near the Turks and Caicos Islands at about 3 p.m. Monday with 200 people aboard.
Some 118 people have been rescued but as of 5:30 p.m. yesterday, the Coast Guard said it had only recovered 15 bodies and at least 67 others were missing.
The wooden sailboat apparently fell into just such a trap, failing to navigate a narrow passage, Turks and Caicos Minister of Public Safety Samuel Been said after speaking with 10 of the migrants in a gymnasium serving as a makeshift detention center.
Survivors reportedly told authorities that the boat left northern Haiti with about 160 passengers, then stopped at an unknown location and picked up 40 others before sinking near the Turks and Caicos. As such, the boat became grossly overloaded.
Haitian migrants routinely try to reach the United States for greener pastures.