​Migrant Boat Sinks In Bahamas; Death Toll Rises

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June 12, 2012

On Monday, Bahama authorities reported that a boat loaded with Haitian migrants headed to the U.S. had sunk and at least 11 bodies have already been recovered.

Royal Bahamas Police Inspector Chrislyn Skippings reported that investigators believed there had been at least 28 people on the 25 foot vessel that had left Abaco on Sunday, and the death toll was expected to rise.

“The vessel was en route to Florida. They developed engine problems which resulted in the vessel taking on water,” Skippings said during a phone interview.

It was also reported that after the boat sank some of the survivors were able to swim to shore and alert the authorities of the incident.

In all seven people had been rescued or made it to shore, but at least 10 more people where deemed still missing 5 of which were said to be children.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer John-Paul Rios said that they had dispatched a plane based out of Miami and a Helicopter from the Bahama’s to aid in the rescue effort.

The Coast Guard says that they often patrol the region where the boat sunk due the high traffic between the island for immigrants and drug smugglers trying to make it to U.S. shores. In the case of Haitian immigrants, they try to make it to the Bahama’s with some staying there to take low paying jobs, while most others try to make it all the way to the U.S.