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#3683: 44 Haitians, Two American News Reporters Rescued (fwd)


Wednesday May 17 1:49 PM ET 
 44 Haitians, Two American News Reporters Rescued

 MIAMI (Reuters) - Two American news reporters and 44 Haitian migrants
were rescued at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard after the boat they were on
began sinking in Bahamian waters, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.
 Coast Guard spokeswoman Sylvia Olvera said the party consisted of 39
Haitian males and five females as well as the two reporters. She said
the journalists were from the New York Times but was unable to give any
more details. New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis told Reuters
the two were not staff reporters. ``We believe that the two journalists
in question may have been a freelance writer on assignment for the New
 York Times Magazine and a photographer, also on assignment for the New
York Times Magazine,'' Mathis said. ``They were covering Haitian
refugees for a future magazine article. We understand they were rescued
by the Coast Guard. We also understand that they are safe and in     
the Bahamas.''They were spotted Sunday about 18 miles (28.8 km)
northwest of Ile Tortuga, Haiti,in a 35-foot (10.6-meter) sailboat that
was slowly sinking during an apparent bid to reach the United States.
 A Coast Guard team boarded the vessel, which headed into Bahamian
waters south of the island of Great Inagua. It was abandoned as it took
on more water.The group was taken on board a Coast Guard cutter then
handed over to Bahamian authorities Tuesday on the island of Great
Inagua, which lies about 90 miles (144 km) north of Haiti. U.S.
authorities have noted a rise in recent months in the number of Haitians
fleeing their impoverished homeland in the hope of reaching the United
States. The scattered islands of the Bahamas often serve as staging
points and smuggling routes.