In an incident deemed a national tragedy, a 30-foot vessel carrying approximately 20 people capsized off the coast of Freeport around 4 a.m. on April 9.
In a joint rescue effort, the U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Defence Force teamed up to rescue the survivors who were found clinging to the overturned boat. Among those rescued, it was reported that there were four Haitian men, one Bahamian man, one Jamaican man and four Haitian women.
Local and international reports all say that 10 people including two pregnant women were rescued. However, unnamed sources told ‘The Abaconian’ that there were more lives unaccounted for including children that were not mentioned.
In an online discussion about the upcoming gender equality referendum, one person wrote: A young lady, who is born in Abaco and never been to Haiti, just tried to smuggle herself, her unborn [child] and her 2-year-old to the US, and tragically lost her 2-year-old son in that capsized boat off of Grand Bahama the other day, but because these kids’ lives don’t matter, I have not heard any media network talking about that. We need equality for all and not some…In a place where all lives matter that is a national tragedy.”
Indeed, many are saying that not only is the number of passengers not adding up, but that there is not one mention of the lives that were lost at sea. Those in the Abaco community particularly those of Haitian descent are troubled by existing news reports, and are seeking answers to this mystery which involves persons from Abaco, our source explained.
The passengers are believed to have been attempting to enter the United States illegally, and Capt. Mark Fedor, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th District, strongly discouraged illegal entry into the United States calling the trips “incredibly dangerous.”
The passengers were examined for any injuries, and were later taken to the Detention Centre, for further processing and repatriation.