Turks and Caicos ends search for capsizing victims

AP News
Posted: Dec 26, 2013 5:21 PM

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (AP) — Authorities ended the search Thursday for additional victims from the Christmas Day capsizing of a Haitian migrant vessel in which at least 17 people died.

Police Commissioner Colin Farquhar said no additional bodies were found and officials did not believe any more would likely be located in the shallow, clear waters where the boat overturned just off the coast of Providenciales island.

The focus of the investigation has now shifted to interviewing the 33 people who survived when the 28-foot sloop overturned as Turks and Caicos police towed the sailboat to port in Providenciales after intercepting it about two hours earlier. The survivors were being held at a migrant detention center in the British territory southeast of the Bahamas.

Authorities suspect the boat capsized after some of the migrants shifted abruptly to one side of the overloaded vessel, Farquhar said.

The Turks and Caicos government is working with the Haitian consulate to determine what should be done with the remains of the 17 people who died.

"Clearly, I cannot yet say when this will happen, as the ongoing police inquiry naturally takes precedence," he said.