Haitian migrant boat overturns in Bahamas; deaths reported

MIAMI - The U.S. Coast Guard says an overloaded sailboat carrying migrants from Haiti has overturned in the Bahamas and at least 10 people have reportedly died.

Photos released by the Coast Guard show about 100 Haitians clinging to the hull of the boat after it grounded off Staniel Cay in the eastern Bahamas.

Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said the Royal Bahamas Defense Force and Coast Guard began a rescue operation after the boat ran aground Monday night. The rescue and a search for survivors was ongoing Tuesday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., MH-60 helicopter crew attached to Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos responded and hoisted 13 people from the water after deploying a mass rescue raft. A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 aircrew and an Air Station Clearwater HC-130 dropped food, supplies and eight additional life rafts to provide assistance.

Staniel Cay is in the Exumas, a Bahamian island chain east of Nassau. Haitian migrants have long passed through the archipelago east of Florida on overloaded vessels seeking to settle in the Bahamas or reach the U.S.

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