Coast Guard rescues migrants off Puerto Rico after 11 people die in capsizing
US Coast Guard rescue teams scour the waters off Puerto Rico after a boat apparently carrying migrants capsized, killing 11 passengers.
The capsized boat was spotted Thursday noon near a desert island. Authorities say they were able to rescue 31 migrants from the water and are looking for other survivors. Despite the perilous journey, migrants continue to risk their lives in hopes of reaching the United States
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) patrol aircraft spotted the vessel around noon about 10 miles north of Desecheo Island off the west coast of Puerto Rico, the official said. agency spokesman Jeffrey Quiñones. Newsweek in an email.
The capsized ship was described by CBP as a “yola,” a wooden boat used to transport migrants and contraband. The patrol plane crew spotted more than 20 people in the water and requested assistance from CBP, as well as the Puerto Rico Police Marine Unit and the U.S. Coast Guard, according to Quiñones. . People spotted in the water did not appear to be wearing life jackets, according to the Coast Guard.
Agencies transported the migrants to Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where they are receiving emergency medical assistance, Quiñones said. Eight Haitian nationals are receiving treatment at El Buen Samaritano Hospital in Aguadilla, he said.
“The search is ongoing,” said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad. Newsweek.
He said the Coast Guard sent a C-130 aircraft from its base in Clearwater, Fla., which he says can search a wider area and stay in the air longer. Additionally, the Coast Guard’s Cutter Joseph Tezanos, a rapid response vessel, is on the scene along with helicopters, Castrodad said.
Human Rights Watch released a report in March describing the chaotic conditions faced by Haitian migrants, many of whom are fleeing violence and poverty, when deported. The watchdog group said 25,765 people were deported or deported to Haiti from Jan. 1, 2021, to Feb. 26, 2022. Of those, the United States returned 79%, or 20,309 people.
Migrants face dangerous conditions. In January, more than 100 migrants were rescued off Florida.
Border authorities continued to block their entry into the United States. In March, about 150 Haitian migrants landed on a private beach about 20 miles west of Key West.
Patrol Chief Agent Walter N. Slosar said on Twitter Monday that U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to 104 maritime contraband incidents that made landfall in Florida since Oct. 1. Over the weekend, he said Border Patrol agents and local authorities apprehended 58 Cuban migrants and responded to six smuggling incidents.