Otra tragedia migrante: mueren 17 haitianos tras naufragar bote cerca de las Bahamas

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Bahamas: Bote con migrantes haitianos naufraga; 17 mueren

Un bote que transportaba migrantes haitianos aparentemente se volcó cerca de las Bahamas el domingo, y las fuerzas de seguridad bahameñas recuperaron los cuerpos de 17 personas y rescataron a otras 25, informaron las autoridades.

No estaba claro si había personas desaparecidas después de que la embarcación se hundiera a unos 11 kilómetros (7 millas) de Nueva Providencia.

El primer ministro de Bahamas, Philip Brave Davis, dijo en un comunicado que entre los muertos había 15 mujeres, un hombre y un bebé. Señaló que las personas rescatadas fueron llevadas a observación por los trabajadores de salud.

El mandatario indicó que los investigadores habían determinado que una lancha rápida bimotor salió de las Bahamas alrededor de la 1 de la madrugada con unas 60 personas, aparentemente con destino a Miami.

Dijo que se había iniciado una investigación penal sobre la presunta operación de contrabando de personas.

“Me gustaría transmitir las condolencias de mi gobierno y del pueblo de Bahamas a las familias de los que han perdido la vida en esta tragedia”, declaró Davis. “Mi gobierno, desde que llegó al poder, ha advertido sobre estos viajes traicioneros”.

Por su parte, el primer ministro haitiano Ariel Henry expresó sus condolencias a las familias de las víctimas.

“Este nuevo drama entristece a toda la nación”, declaró. “Lanzo, una vez más, una exhortación en pos de una reconciliación nacional con el fin de solucionar los problemas que están haciendo que nuestros hermanos, nuestras hermanas y nuestros niños se vayan lejos de nuestra tierra”.

Un año después del asesinato del presidente haitiano Jovenel Moïse, la violencia de las pandillas se ha agravado y la economía ha caído en picada. Los intentos de formar un gobierno de coalición han fracasado y los esfuerzos para celebrar elecciones generales se encuentran estancados.

La agitación ha hecho que cada vez más personas huyan del país de 11 millones de habitantes en busca de una vida mejor.

Este año se han producido varios naufragios en los que se han visto implicados migrantes haitianos, incluido uno en mayo cerca de Puerto Rico en el que se confirmó la muerte de 11 personas y el rescate de otras 38.

AP News


GOING DEEP: Gov’t pledges harsh penalties after 17 perish in migrant tragedy

Survivors of the boat tragedy that left at least 17 people dead yesterday said they paid between $3,000 and $8,000 to make the journey from The Bahamas to another destination, Immigration Minister Keith Bell said yesterday.

Bell said survivors were interviewed at the Carmichael Road Detention Center where at least 20 of them were taken in the hours after the worst migrant boating tragedy since 2019 when at least 27 Haitians died off Abaco.

His comment came as officials pledged during a press conference to bring down the hammer on those responsible for the suspected human smuggling incident.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said 15 of the dead were women, one was a man and one was a girl toddler.

It is believed that the vessel capsized in rough seas.

Twenty-five people were rescued, including two Bahamian men known to police who are assisting officers with their investigation.

While 42 people have been accounted for, officials suspect between 50 to 60 people were on board the 30ft vessel, which they said left a docking facility at West Bay Street and was likely headed to Miami, Florida.

Three people suffering from near-drowning symptoms were recovering in the hospital up to press time last night with officials expecting them to make full recovery as search and rescue efforts continued.

“I would like to convey the condolences of my government and the people of The Bahamas to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” Davis said.

“My government, from the time it came into The Bahamas, has continually warned against these treacherous voyages.

“We have increased surveillance on land and sea and intensified patrols.

“We take this opportunity to strongly condemn the organization of smuggling operations which risk human life and compromise our national security.

“Those found to be involved will face prosecution. I understand the situation these migrants face that encourages them to take such great risks. We, however, appeal to those considering making such a voyage not to do so.”

Davis said officials will seek to identify the bodies and determine whether the deceased have relatives in the country who could bury them. He said if they fail to find relatives, the government “would have to make another decision”.

Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander said locating the vessel was difficult in the early hours of Friday morning because of its blue hull. He said the vessel was fully submerged in the water.

“Officers heard a knocking on the hull of the boat. Divers eventually went down and that’s when they recovered the bodies, the 17 bodies. There was one female who was still alive, was up in the air pocket of the hull of that boat so I believe that’s what kept her alive,” he said.

Fernander said officials have collected identification items found on the deceased and will use them to identify the victims.

He said the two Bahamian men in custody are known to police for various offences, though he could not confirm whether human smuggling is among those crimes.

“We are looking at a view not only to smuggling but you are looking at manslaughter, you are looking at an unsafe vessel so we are going deep into this with respect to charges as we move with our investigation,” Fernander said.

At yesterday’s briefing, Attorney General Ryan Pinder said: “To the extent that (police) investigations reveal criminal culpability there will be no resistance by the government of The Bahamas in bringing the necessary criminal action and criminal enforcement action against those who are deservingly so.”

Pinder added: “Needless to say, based upon the reports from the law enforcement agency and I think the commissioner has indicated, given what appeared to be clear negligence by the operators of the craft, that there will be a series of potential violations and prosecution that can occur.”

Eye Witness News

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