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7th District Southeast Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

June 15, 2012


Contact: 7th Coast Guard District

Email: D07-SMB-PAMIAMI@uscg.mil

Office: (305) 415-6683

Coast Guard, Royal Bahamas Police Force search for Haitian migrants in the water

MIAMI — The Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Police Force continue to search for survivors after 11 Haitian migrants reportedly died and four Haitian migrants survived when a their boat ran aground and broke apart near Hawksbill Bay, Bahamas Monday.

The deceased were located and recovered through a joint search effort by the Coast Guard and RBPF.

The four survivors were able to make their way to shore where they notified RBPF officials.  RBPF officials relayed the information to the Coast Guard and requested air support.   

The 7th Coast Guard District command center watch standers launched an Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center along with an HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami to conduct searches through the night. Both air crews returned to base after assisting RBPF in recovering 11 deceased migrants.

The Coast Guard launched an Ocean Sentry crew Tuesday morning to conduct a first light search for any migrants who are still missing. RBPF is conducting surface searches. 

"This is a tragic and preventable loss of life and as we continue our efforts to locate any survivors, the Coast Guard urges family members everywhere to plead with loved ones overseas who might wish to immigrate to the U.S. to only do so through safe and lawful means," said Capt. Brendan McPherson, 7th Coast Guard District chief of response enforcement.

For information about how to legally immigrate to the United States, call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

OPBAT is a combined Coast Guard, DEA and Government of Bahamas partnership to combat drug smuggling to and from the Bahamas. The OPBAT Operations Center is responsible for initiating and prosecuting law enforcement cases in the Bahamian area of responsibility (AOR). In addition, OPBAT assets regularly assist with prosecuting human smuggling and search and rescue cases throughout the AOR.

The Coast Guard maintains a persistent presence in and around the Bahamas.  The Service is locally based, nationally deployed, and globally connected.

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