- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2008

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — The bodies of 20 migrants have been recovered from the sea near the Bahamas after their boat apparently capsized, the U.S. Coast Guard said today as it searched for survivors.

The bodies of 19 Haitians and one Honduran were recovered and three survivors — two Haitians and one Honduran — have been found, said Barry Bena, a Coast Guard spokesman in Miami. Authorities are interviewing the survivors to determine what happened.

The search-and-rescue mission began yesterday after fishermen heard people screaming in the water. The survivors said their boat was carrying 24 people when it capsized around 10 p.m. Saturday, according to another Coast Guard spokesman, Luis Diaz.

The accident happened about 15 miles northwest of Nassau, Bahamas, according to the Coast Guard. A cutter, helicopter and a jet from the Coast Guard and two Bahamas military vessels continued searching the area today, Bena said.

Every year, thousands of Haitians try to leave the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country aboard rickety, overloaded boats for other islands or the United States.

Soaring food prices have pushed many into abject poverty and triggered riots earlier this month in Haiti, but this has not translated so far into a spike in the number of migrants.

Last year a migrant boat capsized near the Turks and Caicos islands, pitching Haitians into shark-infested waters. At least 61 people died.


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