Haiti – FLASH : Shipwreck of migrants in the Bahamas archipelago, 12 survivors 15 missing
On Saturday noon, Bahamian police confirmed having received an alert that a 27-foot-long (8-meter) boat sank 9 miles (20 kilometers) south of Cayo Chub, in the Berry Islands (95 kilometers to the north-North West of Nassau).
Rescue teams dispatched to the scene found the boat capsized, partially submerged with several people of Haitian and Jamaican origin hanging to the boat. 12 people were rescued and handed over to immigration officials. According to the testimonies of the castaways at least 15 other people were traveling on the boat.
On Sunday, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and theUnited States Coast Guard were actively searching for possible survivors or the bodies of the victims.
William Sturrup, RBDF Coordinator, urged the public to report cases of smuggling and illegal immigration.
It should be noted that in recent years the number of people trying to illegally reach the Bahamian coast from other parts of the region, particularly Haiti, has increased dramatically. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a population of 390,208 inhabitants living in the archipelago, the number of Haitians is estimated at 80,000 (± 20%) of which more than 50,000 would be in an irregular migratory situation and constitute the largest migrant community in the archipelago.