Latin America & Caribbean

'Haitian migrants' drown off Turks and Caicos Islands

A boat has capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands leaving 18 migrants dead, authorities there say.

The overloaded boat had been intercepted by police and was being escorted to shore when it sank abruptly just 150m (500ft) off the coast of Providenciales.

Thirty-two people were rescued.

While officials did not reveal their nationality, local media reported the victims were from Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Those rescued are being held on suspicion of trying to enter the British Overseas Territory illegally.

Accidents involving overloaded boats carrying migrants from Haiti are not uncommon in the Caribbean.

In November, about 30 people died when their vessel sank off the Bahamas.

And in 2009, US Coast Guard officials called off their search for about 70 migrants from Haiti whose boat also capsized off the Turks and Caicos.

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