Mass drowning horror as young girl among 17 dead after boat capsizes off coast of The Bahamas | The Sun

AT least 17 people including a child have died after a boat packed with dozens of migrants capsized in rough seas while heading to the US.

Rescue teams battled to save those who plunged into the waters off the coast of the Bahamas – and it's feared there may be many still missing.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said 15 women, one man and a girl of around four or five years old died in the tragedy.

A further 25 were rescued – but it's believed up to 60 people may have been on board, sparking fears many are missing.

The Haitian migrants were desperately trying to reach the US to flee gang violence and poverty at home when the boat ran into trouble around seven miles off the island of New Providence.

Davis said the twin-engine speed boat left the Bahamas at about 1am, heading for Miami.

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He said: "It is believed that the vessel capsized in rough seas."

A criminal investigation has been launched into the suspected human smuggling operation.

Davis added: "I would like to convey the condolences of my government and the people of the Bahamas to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy.

"My government, from the time it came to office, has warned against these treacherous voyages."

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Bahamian authorities said that two people were taken into custody, both from Bahamas, over the suspected human smuggling operation.

All those on board recovered alive or dead or who were still missing were believed to be migrants from Haiti.

The Bahamas is a frequent transit route for Haitians seeking to reach the US.

Immigration Minister Keith Bell said survivors indicated that they paid between £2,500 and £6,500 for the voyage.

He said: "We mourn lives lost of those seeking a better way of life.

"Those here with families and friends in Haiti, encourage your loved ones not to risk their lives."

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In May, a boat carrying 842 Haitian migrants bound for the United States strayed off course and washed ashore along the north coast of Cuba instead.

That same month, 11 people drowned when a vessel carrying Haitian migrants capsized near Puerto Rico

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