17 Haitians killed when boat sinks near Tortuga Island
Updated: Aug 21
At least 17 people drowned and more appeared to be missing after a packed sailboat sank in a channel between mainland Haiti and an outlying island Wednesday, a Haitian official said. Jose Rethone, coordinator of the civil protection office in Haiti’s Northwest Department, said: "That the boat sank around 1 p.m. as people returned to the Île de la Tortue from market day in the town of Saint-Louis-du-Nord, about an hour’s trip across the La Tortue channel".
Nine survivors were rescued from the water, but an unknown number remained lost at sea, Rethone said.
He said it was unclear how many passengers had paid about $1 to board the boat, but such vessels often hold dozens of people.
Rethone said the Haitian Coast Guard was unable to respond to calls for aid, and his office had asked the U.S. Coast Guard to help.
He said weather was calm and waves were small at the time of the sinking.