Seventeen Haitian migrants died when a boat carrying more than 60 people sank off the coast of the Bahamas on Sunday.
Bahamian officials said the bodies of 17 Haitian migrants were found dead and 25 rescued at sea in a rescue operation Sunday after a ship capsized off the coast of the Bahamas.
According to a press release issued by Prime Minister Philip Davis, the boat, “capsulated in the face of a rough sea,” left the archipelago’s most populous island with “about 60 people on board.” Among the victims, 15 women, one man and one child died in the accident.
“Their final destination is believed to be Miami, Florida,” the head of the Bahamian government said. The Bahamas, a group of 700 islands (39 of which are inhabited) located 80 km southeast of the Florida coast north of Cuba, is regularly used as a transit land by immigrants seeking to reach the United States.
In Haiti, where nearly half the population suffers from food insecurity and gang crime, many residents continue to try to reach Florida illegally by sea, often stopping in the Bahamas or the islands of the Turks and Caicos, under British rule.
“I understand that the situation facing many of these migrants encourages them to take such great risks,” said Philip Davies, “however calling on those considering such a journey not to do so.”