11 Dead After Migrant Ship Capsizes By Puerto Rico

Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection/REUTERS

Devan Bugbee Contributor
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Coast Guard rescue squads responded Thursday after a suspected migrant vessel reportedly capsized ten nautical miles North of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) received a call at approximately 11:47 a.m. alleging that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) aircraft spotted a toppled vessel with an unidentified number of people in the water, according to a Coast Guard News Release. The people reportedly did not have life vests. In response, the USCG sent multiple MH-60T Helicopters and “diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos to rescue possible survivors,” the release stated.

There have been 20 male survivors and 11 female as of 6 p.m., according to a tweet by the USCG. Eleven people were found dead.

“Our highest priority is saving lives and that is what my crews will exhaust themselves doing,” said Read Admiral Brendan C. McPherson. “We are coordinating with shoreside responders to evacuate anyone who needs medical care ashore.”

Most people on the boat were allegedly from Haiti, with two people supposedly coming from the Dominican Republic, said Jeffrey Quinones, a Public Affairs Officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: CBP Seizes $10 Million In Fake Rolexes From Hong Kong)

“It appears that the boat broke because it’s not a boat that’s made for such a voyage,” Quinones said.

Survivors have been taken into Puerto Rico, according to Reuters. Eight of them are receiving medical care at a local hospital.