CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Thurs. July 30, 2009:
The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday, suspended its search for as many as 67 Haitian migrants missing near the Turks and Caicos islands.
The Haitians were forced into shark infested waters after their overloaded boat capsized 2.3 miles southeast of West Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands, Monday.
Turks and Caicos Islands officials contacted the Coast Guard at 2:52 p.m. Monday to request assistance after discovering a large number of people stranded on a reef.
`The decision to suspend this search is particularly difficult because we believe there were many people onboard this vessel that have not been recovered and are presumed lost at sea,` said Rear Adm. Steve Branham, Seventh Coast Guard District commander. `Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were lost.`
Of the estimated 200 Haitians aboard the vessel, 118 were safely transported to shore and 15 were recovered dead. On Wednesday, a lone survivor was found on West Caicos, an uninhabited island 2.3 miles from where the boating tragedy occurred, bringing the survivor total to 119.
`Ill-advised voyages on grossly overloaded vessels are inherently dangerous and should not be attempted,` Branham added. `There are safe and legal ways to immigrate to the United States. When people deviate from these means, tragedies occur.`