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A police boat in the Turks and Caicos Islands collided with a ship carrying migrants believed to be from Haiti, dumping dozens into the sea and killing at least seven

Police in the Turks and Caicos Islands said they recovered seven bodies and were looking for more on Wednesday.

At least 64 migrants were rescued in the area off the island of Providenciales, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Authorities said they did not know how many migrants were aboard the ship that collided with one of their own when officers attempted to intercept it on Monday evening. Police said they detained 16 migrants who fled on foot after the collision.

“We were hoping for the best,” Acting Police Commissioner Kendall Grant said. “Sadly, we are now facing a tragedy.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located between Haiti and the Bahamas and have long been a destination and a smuggling route for Haitian migrants.

Haiti is grappling with growing political insecurity, increased gang violence and severe fuel shortages that have driven up prices in a country where 60% of the population earns less than $ 2 a day.

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ABC News

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