Authorities continue search for additional survivors, bodies
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Authorities pulled two more bodies out of waters off Abaco on Tuesday and suspect they were passengers onboard a Haitian sloop that ran aground and capsized in waters off Man-O-War Cay last weekend.
Yesterday’s discovery pushed the death toll to 29.
According to authorities, the body of a man was discovered around noon yesterday.
Another body was found by a passing vessel in the Sandy Cay area around 12:40 p.m.
The search for additional survivors continued yesterday.
Eighteen Haitians — 17 men and one woman — were rescued following the incident.
While some of the survivors indicated to officials that 45 people travelled from Haiti, immigration officials believe that figure is likely closer to 87.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, in conjunction with local authorities, initially discovered 13 dead on Saturday night.
Fourteen more bodies were recovered from the sunken sloop early Sunday morning.
In response to the tragedy, leaders of the Haitian-Bahamian community have called for the Haitian government to do more to protect the borders to ensure Haitians are prevented from making perilous journeys to The Bahamas and other countries.
President of the United Haitian Association in The Bahamas Pastor Antoine St. Louis told Eyewitness News Online yesterday that a memorial service to remember the victims will be held this Sunday at Church of God Auditorium on Joe Farrington Road.
Speaking to the incident on Monday, St. Louis said, “We continue to just push that the Haitian government will continue to do whatever [it] can to put some kind of stop to this because it has been going on over and over, and in the past — less than 15 years ago or so — three times it has happened,” St. Louis told Eyewitness News Online, when contacted for comment.
“It is a very sad situation. We know the situation that Haiti is in, but also believe that the government can and should do everything that [it] can to do better.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said Monday that the Haitian embassy requested that the government of The Bahamas return the bodies of migrants.
The incident was the deadliest migrant incident since November 2013, when 30 Haitian migrants drowned near Harvey Cay, in the Exuma Cays, after their sloop ran aground and capsized.
Authorities with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 111 migrants — 19 women and 92 men.