At least 11 people died this Thursday and another 31 were rescued after a boat capsized with an unknown number of passengers off the coast of Puerto Ricoreported a spokesman for the US Coast Guard.
“As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday (10:00 p.m. GMT), responding partner agency units rescued 31 survivors, 11 women and 20 men. 11 dead have been recovered. the Coast Guard said on Twitter.
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“The search for survivors is scheduled to continue overnight,” he added.
The rescue operation launched hours ago in the area of the shipwreck, some 18 kilometers north of the Puerto Rican island of Desecheo, continues with helicopters and patrol boats, spokesman Ricardo Castrodad had said earlier.
“There are countless resources active in the search by the Coast Guard and other bodies such as the border police and the Puerto Rico police,” Indian.
The rescued people are mainly from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, according to authorities, who suspect the boat was carrying illegal migrants.
A Border Police (CBP) helicopter reported the wreck after spotting people in the water and an overturned boat in the morning, the Coast Guard statement said.
Several rescue helicopters swooped in to search and a Coast Guard cutter was diverted to aid in the recovery.
The castaways did not appear to be wearing life jackets, the statement said.
Desecheo is an uninhabited island in the Mona Passage, which separates the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico and connects the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.
On Saturday, a Haitian woman died in the same canal after the sinking of a boat carrying 69 migrants.
The other passengers were rescued by the US Coast Guard and the Dominican Navy.
Hundreds of Haitians managed to reach Florida during the month of March, while more than a hundred had been intercepted near the Bahamas by the US Coast Guard.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is going through an acute institutional, economic, social and security crisis.