Boat rammed, say Haiti survivors

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Boat rammed, say Haiti survivors

Post by Guysanto » Fri May 11, 2007 6:26 am

BBC News

Boat rammed, say Haiti survivors

The capsizing is the worst disaster to hit Haitian migrants in years
Survivors of a capsizing in which 61 Haitian migrants died have said that their vessel was rammed by a patrol boat from the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Survivors told Associated Press news agency that their boat was rammed, towed into deeper water and then abandoned when it overturned.

The boat was carrying about 150 people from Haiti to the US when it sank early Friday 4 May off the Turks and Caicos.

The islands' government has said it is investigating the incident.

The US Coast Guard has said the migrants' vessel capsized as it was being towed to Providenciales, one of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Dangerous crossing

The Associated Press interviewed six of the survivors after they were repatriated to Haiti. They all gave the same story, AP said.

"When they hit us the first time," said Dona Daniel, "water rushed into the boat and everybody screamed."

He said crew on the Turks and Caicos patrol boat ordered them to lower their sails and began towing them into deeper water.

Another survivor, Lovderson Nacon, said he was in the water for 15 minutes before another patrol boat arrived and began pulling people out of the shark-infested waters.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory, is located to the north of Haiti and south-east of the Bahamas.

The government of the islands has said it will not comment on the capsizing until two investigations being conducted are complete.

Three British government experts are carrying out an independent investigation.

The number of Haitian migrants attempting the dangerous crossings to the US or to other Caribbean islands has increased in recent months.

Some 909 Haitians have been caught by the US Coast Guard since January, officials say.

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