SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday it has suspended the search for potential survivors of an capsized boat near Puerto Rico after it found 11 bodies and rescued 38 migrants from a vessel that had carried about 60 to 75 passengers.
Crews searched the waters north of the uninhabited island of Desecheo, located west of Puerto Rico, for four days. All 11 victims were Haitian women and 36 of the 38 survivors were Haitians. The other two were from the Dominican Republic, officials said.
“Our deepest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of those who did not survive or are still missing,” said Captain Gregory Magee, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “These crews did everything possible to ensure that if there were other survivors, they would have had the best chance of being rescued.”
Rescue efforts began Thursday after a US Customs and Border Protection helicopter spotted the capsized boat while on patrol.
Authorities have reported a sharp increase in recent months in the number of Haitian migrants fleeing their country, which is grappling with a spike in brutal gang violence, political instability and a crumbling economy.