Not less than 11 lifeless, 31 rescued after boat capsizes close to Puerto Rico

A ship loaded with passengers capsized north of an uninhabited island close to Puerto Rico. Eleven individuals had been confirmed lifeless whereas 31 others have been rescued Thursday, authorities stated.

It wasn’t instantly clear how many individuals have been aboard the boat when it turned over, stated U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad. He stated a “mass rescue effort” was nonetheless underway.

“We’re seeking to rescue as many individuals as we are able to and discover as many survivors as we are able to,” he stated.

Not less than eight Haitians have been taken to the hospital, though the nationalities of all these aboard the boat weren’t instantly identified.

A U.S. Customs and Border Safety helicopter noticed the overturned boat late Thursday morning.

“If not for that, we might not have identified about this till somebody would have discovered any signal or obtained studies from those that their family members are lacking,” Castrodad stated. “They discovered them early sufficient that we have been in a position to coordinate a response.”

The boat was noticed greater than 11 miles north of the uninhabited island of Desecheo, which is off Puerto Rico’s west coast.

The incident was the newest in a string of capsizings throughout the area as migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic flee violence and poverty of their nations.

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard and Dominican navy rescued 68 migrants within the Mona Passage, a treacherous space between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. One girl believed to be from Haiti died, Castrodad stated.

“These voyages are harmful,” Castrodad stated. “They’re unsafe, they’re grossly overloaded … (and) no lifesaving gear. It would not actually take a lot for any of those vessels to capsize.”

Within the fiscal yr that ended September 30, the Coast Guard stated 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 no less than 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.

A whole lot 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 youngsters, and brought on hundreds of households to flee their properties. Kidnappings even have spiked, together with these of eight Turkish residents who on Sunday have been pressured off a bus that they had 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, based on the United Nations, which final week expressed concern over “the fast deterioration of safety 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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