It wasn’t instantly clear how many individuals had been aboard the boat when it turned over, mentioned U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad. He mentioned a “mass rescue effort” was nonetheless underway.
“We’re looking to rescue as many people as we can and find as many survivors as we can,” he mentioned.
At least eight Haitians had been taken to the hospital, though the nationalities of all these aboard the boat weren’t instantly identified.
The incident was the most recent in a string of capsizings throughout the area as migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic flee violence and poverty of their international locations.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter noticed the overturned boat late Thursday morning.
“If not for that, we would not have known about this until someone would have found any sign or received reports from people that their loved ones are missing,” Castrodad mentioned. “They found them early enough that we were able to coordinate a response.”
The boat was noticed greater than 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of the uninhabited island of Desecheo, which is off Puerto Rico’s west coast. The U.S. Coast Guard mentioned these rescued had been 20 males and 11 girls.
The capsizing comes lower than every week after the U.S. Coast Guard and Dominican navy on Saturday rescued 68 migrants within the Mona Passage, a treacherous space between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. One lady believed to be from Haiti died, Castrodad mentioned.
“These voyages are dangerous,” Castrodad mentioned. “They’re unsafe, they are grossly overloaded … (and) no lifesaving equipment. It wouldn’t really take much for any of these vessels to capsize.”
From October 2021 to March, 571 Haitians and 252 individuals from the Dominican Republic had been detained in waters round Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in line with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The majority of these Haitians, 348 of them, landed in Puerto Rico’s uninhabited Mona Island and had been rescued.
In fiscal yr 2021, 310 Haitians and 354 Dominicans had been detained, in contrast with the 22 Haitians and 313 Dominicans apprehended in fiscal yr 2020.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard mentioned that within the fiscal yr that ended Sept. 30, it apprehended 1,527 Haitians, 838 Cubans and 742 individuals from the Dominican Republic within the area, which incorporates Florida and the Caribbean.
Since then, journeys of human smuggling boats have solely elevated, authorities say.
In January, the Coast Guard looked for a minimum of 38 individuals lacking off Florida’s coast after a suspected human smuggling boat that had left the Bahamas capsized in a storm. A sole survivor was reported.
Hundreds of Haitians have arrived in Florida alone in current months after swimming ashore.
Haiti is scuffling with a surge in gang-related violence that has killed dozens of individuals, together with girls and kids, and brought on hundreds of households to flee their houses. Kidnappings even have spiked, together with these of eight Turkish residents who on Sunday had been compelled off a bus they’d boarded within the Dominican Republic.
Kidnappings within the nation of greater than 11 million individuals have elevated 180% and homicides are up 17% up to now yr, in line with the United Nations, which final week expressed concern over “the rapid deterioration of security and human rights” in Haiti.
Many have criticized the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden for deporting greater than 20,000 Haitians in current months given the nation’s deepening turmoil.
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