NASSAU, BAHAMAS (BNO NEWS) -- The bodies of eleven Haitian immigrants have been recovered after their overcrowded boat sank off the Bahamas on late Sunday, U.S. and Bahamian authorities said on Tuesday. Twelve others remain missing and are feared to have drowned.
The 25 to 30-foot (7.6 to 9.1 meters) vessel, named the "Glory Time", was carrying 28 people of Haitian descent when it left the small coastal community of Treasure Key on the east coast of Abaco Island at around 5 p.m. local time on Sunday. Among those on board were 9 children, 5 women and 14 men.
One of the people who survived the accident alerted the Marsh Harbor Police Station at 12:10 p.m. local time on Monday. He told authorities that the boat began experiencing engine problems at around 8 p.m. on Sunday while it was in rough seas near Crown Haven in North Abaco.
"One of the engines kept cutting off, which slowed the vessel down," National Security Minister Bernard Nottage said on Tuesday, citing information given to authorities by one of the survivors who informed authorities. "He reported that the seas were very rough and the vessel began to take on water. The vessel eventually capsized and everyone began to scramble to save their lives."
Authorities have found a total of five survivors and do not expect to find more. "He reported that he did his best to save other persons. But the sea was too rough, so he had to save his own life," the minister said. "He further recalls seeing six others who survived the ordeal. However, once on land those six persons [had] disappeared."
Divers had recovered eleven bodies as of late Tuesday, leaving twelve others missing and presumed drowned, which would raise the death toll to 23. "The recovered bodies have been transported to the morgue at New Providence," Nottage said. "The last report is that 12 persons are missing and feared drowned."
The survivor, who is a Bahamian national of Haitian origin, said the passengers had paid $5,000 each to be smuggled into the U.S. state of Florida. "Eight persons have been taken into custody that were seen in the area and believed to have been associated with the sunken vessel," Nottage added.
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