28 Haitians die when boat sinks off Bahamas

February 3, 2019 GMT

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Bahamian officials say a boat smuggling Haitian migrants has sunk, leaving 28 people dead and 17 others in police custody.

Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force says residents of the island of Abaco found four bodies and at least 15 people in coastal waters Saturday.

Bahamian forces and the U.S. Coast Guard then launched a search operation that by Sunday afternoon had found at least 28 bodies in and around a ship sunk off the Bahamas. The total rescued also rose to 17.

Rolle says the ship appeared to be an American vessel engaged in people-smuggling, but no further information was immediately available.

The Royal Bahamas Defense Force says it has apprehended at least 300 Haitians in four smuggling incidents so far this year.