Coast Guard No Longer Involved in Haitian Search Efforts

MIAMI – Officials of the Turks and Caicos Island government no longer need the assistance of the Coast Guard for the search of undocumented Haitian migrants reported to have capsized on a 30-foot Haitian sailing-freighter at 4:30 a.m. a half mile south of Provodenciales Island in the Turks and Caicos today.

Coast Guard officials were notified by the Turks and Caicos Police that the Haitian vessel had capsized reportedly while they were towing the sail-freighter. The crew of the police boat immediately rescued approximately 63 people from the capsized vessel but initial statements to the police indicated around 150 migrants on board.

The Coast Guard Cutter Forward along with a C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and an HH-60 helicopter were diverted to assist the Turks and Caicos government.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew located about 20 deceased migrants and later reported seeing eleven clinging to the hull of the capsized vessel. The Coast Guard crew guided the crew of the police vessel to the eleven survivors.

The Forward is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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