Migrant boat sinks in Caribbean: 3 dead, 13 missing
San Juan, Puerto Rico –
At least 14 people were rescued from eastern Caribbean waters early Tuesday morning after their boat capsized in Cameroon, Africa, but three people died and 13 are missing, according to Antigua officials.
At a press conference, authorities said the group left Antigua early Tuesday morning on a boat with 32 passengers. They said the group had been staying on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, but left for Antigua a week earlier.
Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Brown said: “My government has made every effort, including providing housing and work opportunities for my African brothers and sisters left behind in Antigua.”
He said the Cameroonians apparently arrived in Antigua as tourists but intended to emigrate to other countries. He said he was seeking advice on how to treat survivors as refugees, adding that they were welcome in Antigua.
Cameroon has been rocked by conflict since the Central African country’s English-speaking separatists launched an uprising in 2017. According to the United Nations, the conflict has killed more than 3,300 people and displaced more than 750,000 people from their homes.
The boat was stolen in Antigua and 16 people, including two crew members, were rescued, officials said. Officials said the nationalities of the dead or missing were unknown.
Brown said authorities would investigate what he called an “illegal and horrific incident,” including the involvement of local residents.
“We still don’t know all the facts surrounding today’s disaster,” he said.
The ship sank about 40 miles (60 km) northwest of Antigua for unknown reasons.
“Since the ship sank in relatively deep water, recovery may be…a bit more difficult,” said Benjamin.