On Christmas Day, a 28-foot boat transporting Haitian migrants capsized roughly 100 meters from Providenciales, an island located within the Turks and Caicos Islands. The ship was in the process of being escorted to shore by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force around 3 a.m. EST. Tragically, eighteen of the passengers have been killed. However, 32 passengers were rescued including a 12-year-old boy. Officials are still in the process of searching for missing individuals, which includes a 10-year-old child.
Though the exact cause behind the accident has not been officially declared, some have speculated on the chain of events that influenced the outcome. Some claim that the behavior of the migrants themselves ultimately caused the capsizing. Karlo Pelissier, who is the Haitian consul to the Turks and Caicos, said that passengers jumped from the boat in an effort to reach land, which caused the boat to ultimately turn. Pelissier spoke about the health condition of the individuals who were fortunate to be recovered safely from the water. "They are tired, but they are OK," he said.
Salim Succar, who is an adviser to Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, spoke about the devastating incident. "We are saddened by such tragedy and present our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those affected by this accident."
According to an official statement, "Police are still searching for the handful of people who reached shore and fled the scene, and their investigations into the incident continue."
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Sabrina Laberbesque reported that the U.S. Coast Guard sent two helicopters to the scene in order to aid in the rescue efforts. In addition, two emergency-response vessels were sent to the area of the accident by the Florida Coast Guard.
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