Coast Guard, Turks and Caicos Authorities Rescuing Haitian Migrants

WEST CAICOS, Turks and Caicos Islands – The U.S. Coast Guard is assisting Turks and Caicos authorities as they rescue up to 70 Haitian migrants who are stranded on a reef after their vessel capsized and sank.

It is estimated that 160 to 200 people may have been onboard the vessel when it capsized.

An HH60 Jayhawk helicopter assigned to Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos OPBAT arrived on scene and hoisted four of the most injured migrants to the airport in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos for further transfer to medical personnel. Authorities from the Turks and Caicos used smallboats to rescue approximately 40 of the stranded migrants. Up to 20 migrants remain on the reef and are in the process of being rescued by Coast Guard and Turks and Caicos personnel. Three survivors have been located on an adjacent reef and four bodies have been located.

An HH-65 helicopter from Air Station Miami is on scene and searching for survivors in the water. The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant is en route. The reef is located approximately 2.3 miles southeast of West Caicos island.

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