At least 11 are dead and over 30 were rescued after a suspected migrant boat overturned off the Puerto Rico coast on Thursday, officials said.
“At least 11 people have died and 31 others were rescued after a boat capsized near Puerto Rico,” Al Jazeera Tweeted.
The boat which was “suspected of taking part in an illegal voyage,” capsized before afternoon on Thursday, revealed the U.S. Coast Guard in a statement.
“Photos from today’s search and rescue operation after a boat carrying Haitian migrants capsized off Puerto Rico’s western coast. At least 5 women dead and 31 people so far rescued,” immigration reporter Syra Ortiz Blanes Tweeted.
After the boat overturned, A U.S. Customs and Border Protection plane spotted people and the capsized vessel about 11 miles north of Desecheo Island in the water. The island resides in the Mona Passage, a dangerous narrow way separating the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.
The coast guard and Customs and Border Protection immediately responded to the scene and took the Puerto Rico Police Department’s marine units on board. The Coast Guard sent multiple helicopters from Borinquen airport with the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos for the rescue operation.
While the Coast Guard reported that 31 people had survived, none of the passengers on board was wearing life jackets.
It is yet to identify how many people were on the boat before it overturned in the sea.
“The vessel was transporting non-U.S. citizens,” said the Coast Guard Office in Puerto Rico.
While condemning the system for providing unsafe safety features, Blanes Tweeted, “Today, a boat filled with migrants capsized near Puerto Rico. At least five people died, underscoring how quickly these voyages can turn deadly due to unsafe homemade boats, bad ocean conditions and a lack of safety measures.”
As of 9:15 a.m, Friday, USCG Southeast Tweeted, “So far, there are 38 survivors, 36 Haitian and 2 Dominican Republic nationals, of which eight remain hospitalized. The number of deceased recovered remains at 11.”