At least 17 people lost their lives when the overcrowded boat they were in capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Coast Guard assisted in the rescue and 55 people were saved from the water after the boat tipped over, spilling the occupants into the ocean, according to CNN News on Dec. 26.
The people rescued are Haitians, but the nationalities of the dead are unknown at this time. The dead included 12 males and seven females, all the deceased are adults.
The search for additional casualties ended after the sun went down and the seas got too rough the safety of the searchers. Weather permitting the search for more casualties in this capsizing will resume Thursday.
Out of the rescued victims, 21 men, 12 females and one child are believed to be Haitian migrants. They were detained by authorities and they will be sent back to Haiti as soon as possible. The discrepancy of the numbers, as 55 were rescued, but only 33 are detained, has not been explained by authorities.
Apparently the Turks and Caicos Island Marines intercepted the boat believed to be filled with illegal migrants and was towing the boat to shore on Wednesday. Two hours after the towing of the boat began, the boat capsized spilling the occupants into the ocean. Authorities have removed the boat from the water and report that the vessel is central to their investigation.
A land search is underway for a handful of people who reached the shore then fled the scene. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British territory. Haitian migrants have used this route before when trying to get to the United States.