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18 Haitian migrants die after boat capsizes

26 December 2013 9:49

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Eighteen Haitian migrants have died after their overloaded boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands near the Caribbean.

The fatal accident took place on Wednesday when the boat, which had been intercepted by police, was being towed into port, Reuters reported.

The boat was carrying more than 50 suspected immigrants when it capsized. The US Coast Guard said 32 Haitians were pulled from the waters about 100 meters off Providenciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos Islands north of Haiti.

Those rescued are being held in a Turks and Caicos immigration detention and removal center on suspicion of trying to enter the British territory illegally.

“Police are still searching for the handful of people who reached shore and fled the scene, and their investigations into the incident continue,” the government of the island chain said in a statement.

The Turks and Caicos Islands have turned into a destination for Haitian migrants seeking to escape their impoverished country still reeling from the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The capsizing of migrant vessels has become common throughout the region. In November, about 30 people died when their vessel sank off the Bahamas.

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