The bodies of seven migrants from a capsized sloop that collided with a marine police vessel on Monday night, off the coast of Northwest Point, Providenciales, were recovered on Tuesday, the police reported.
The incident occurred when the Marine Police were in the process of intercepting the vessel.
At the time of writing this story, the police did not reveal the sexes of the dead, nor what time the bodies were recovered.
It was reported that at about 9:40 p.m. on the night in question, the Marine Police, who were alerted by the operators of the Coastal Radar Station of an object spotted about four miles off the coast of Northwest Point in Providenciales, went in search.
They later stumbled upon the vessel ferrying an undisclosed number of undocumented Haitian migrants, and it was reported that as they made attempts to make their interception, the sloop reportedly rammed into the police vessel and capsized, resulting in its occupants being emptied overboard.
The Marine Police, with the assistance of the United States Coastguard, managed to pull 64 persons from the water, comprising 41 males and 23 females. Some of the migrants managed to swim ashore, 16 of whom were apprehended by the authorities and taken to the detention centre in Providenciales.
A search and rescue operation continued on Tuesday, November 30, by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Marine Branch Unit during which the seven bodies were recovered.
Acting Commissioner of Police Kendall Grant said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives today. We were hoping for the best. Unfortunately, we are now dealing with a tragedy. It is unclear how many irregular migrants were on board the vessel.
“However, the search will continue. We have fully utilized all of our marine assets today with support from Officers of the TCI Regiment, Immigration Task Force, The Department of Environment and Coastal Resources and the US Coast Guard. We are truly grateful to everyone for their support in this operation”.