2009 Turks and Caicos Islands migrant shipwreck

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The shipwreck occurred near the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The 2009 Turks and Caicos Islands migrant shipwreck was the loss near the Turks and Caicos Islands of a boat carrying migrants from Haiti late on the night of 26 July 2009. Sixty-five persons are still missing;[1] earlier figures of 79 missing migrants were reduced as bodies were recovered.[2] At least fifteen corpses have thus far been located.[1][2]

The boat spent three days at sea before it capsized.[3] One survivor said the craft ended up on a reef while attempting to escape a patrolling police vessel.[3][4] A Turks and Caicos police sergeant confirmed that the boat hit Molasses Reef near West Caicos.[2] Of the 124 people who were rescued, 102 were male; 22 were female.[2] Several severely injured migrants were helicoptered to a hospital in Providenciales.[2] Many were brought ashore aboard small boats, whilst five migrants were located alive and well after seemingly having swum to safety.[5]

The incident was reported to the United States Coast Guard by authorities from Turks and Caicos.[5] A spokesperson for the Coast Guard said they rescued 113 migrants and were assisting in the search for those who were still missing.[3] He said they were "hopeful" of finding more missing migrants alive but that "it has been a night and we have not located any additional people".[3] A helicopter and a cutter were also sent by the United States.[3]

An investigation is underway to determine the cause.[4] The boat had no motor.[5] Hubert Hughes, Turks and Caicos Deputy Police Commissioner, claimed police had not been chasing the boat and only assisted when it became apparent that it had gotten into trouble.[5]

Repatriation of Haitians was commenced immediately.[1] The incident followed the interception of 124 Haitian migrants from what was described as a "grossly overloaded" boat that was travelling southwest of this incident.[2] Those migrants were quickly returned to Haiti.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Reuters (2009-07-28). "Haitian migrant shipwreck kills 15, dozens missing". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Reuters (2009-07-28). "79 missing after Haitian shipwreck". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Many missing as Haiti boat sinks". BBC. 2009-07-28. Archived from the original on 28 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  4. ^ a b "VESSEL CAPSIZES WITH 200 ON BOARD". Daily Express. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d Associated Press (2009-07-28). "Haitian boat capsizes; 113 saved, dozens missing". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-07-28. [dead link]