7 killed when boat sinks off Caribbean island

Authorities say vessel capsized; media reports say it collided with island police boat

Laura Gamba   | 01.12.2021
7 killed when boat sinks off Caribbean island FILE PHOTO

BOGOTA, Colombia

The bodies of seven migrants were recovered from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean after a vessel capsized in Providenciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, police said Wednesday.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives today. We were hoping for the best. Unfortunately, we are now dealing with a tragedy,” said Acting Police Commissioner Kendall Grant.

“It is unclear how many irregular migrants were on board the vessel,” said Grant, but “the search will continue.”

A rescue operation continued Tuesday after 64 migrants were rescued by the island Coast Guard marine Sixteen men were arrested after escaping on foot.

Although police spoke of a vessel that “capsized,” a local newspaper reported that it “collided with a vessel from the Turks and Caicos Islands marine branch” on Nov. 29.

"Eighty men and women – who were intent on breaching our borders and living illegally in our communities are alive today because of the police’s efforts, pulling them out of the water last night," said Governor Nigel Dakin.

The 80 migrants are believed to be from Haiti -- a country plunged into political and social turmoil which has caused a migration crisis that has affected islands in the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico and the US.

Hundreds of Haitians have fled, desperate to get out of poverty and escape violence. The Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory located 136 miles from the northern coast of Haiti.

Efforts to recover victims' bodies were scheduled to resume Wednesday.

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