At least 17 people believed to be Haitian migrants died after a suspected human smuggling vessel capsized off the coast of the Bahamas early on July 24.
Rescuers recovered 15 females, one male, and one infant seven miles (11 km) off New Providence just around 1 a.m. local time, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said in a statement.
The boat is believed to have capsized in rough seas, according to officials.
An additional 25 people were rescued and handed over to immigration officials, according to Royal Bahamas Defense Force.
According to the officials, some of those taken into the custody of the Bahamian immigration said that they paid between $3,000 to $8,000 for the voyage.
More people are presumed to be missing as search and rescue operations continue, Davis added.
According to authorities, around 60 people were aboard the 20-feet speedboat when it left a docking facility off West Bay Street in Nassau, Bahamas. Their final destination is believed to be Miami, Florida.
Authorities said that two Bahamian men were among the survivors and were taken into police custody for questioning.
Bahamas Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander told reporters that the two Bahamian men were known to police “for various offenses.”
Davis said his government has warned against making dangerous voyages, adding that they have increased land and sea surveillance and intensified patrols.
“We take this opportunity to strongly condemn the organization of smuggling operations which risk human life and compromise our national security. Those found to be involved will face prosecution,” Davis said.
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