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#5299: Twenty Haitians missing in Bahamas boat collision (fwd)
From: "A. [iso-8859-1] Belokopitsky-Médard" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Twenty Haitians missing in Bahamas boat collision
Oct 12 2000 3:49PM ET
NASSAU, Bahamas (Reuters) - Rescue crews searched
Thursday for about 20 Haitian migrants feared missing after their
unlighted sloop was hit in the night by a Bahamian mail boat off
the east central Bahamas.
Eighty Haitian passengers were rescued and taken ashore. The
migrant boat was believed to have been carrying about 100
passengers, and the remainder were feared to have fallen
overboard, Bahamian authorities said.
The mail boat Grand Master was en route to the island of Exuma
from the Bahamian capital of Nassau when it collided with the
Haitian sloop Tuesday night. The Haitian vessel was dragging
anchor about 80 miles from Exuma when the accident occurred.
Lenneth Brozozog, a principal shareholder in the Grand Master
Shipping Company, which owns the mail boat, said the collision
took place in ``rainy, stormy weather.''
``Visibility was down to nil and the sloop was dragging its
anchor in the channel,'' Brozozog said. ``The sloop had no
navigational lights and the Grand Master's radar did not pick it
up quickly enough. They tried to avoid the sloop but they were so
close they side-swiped it.''
The Grand Master stopped and rescued about 80 passengers. Four
women were taken to a clinic on Exuma for medical treatment.
The Haitians were believed to be trying to immigrate to the
Bahamas or the United States, he said.
``It is a tragedy if life was lost,'' an Exuma resident said.
''It is difficult to say exactly what the position is, because
none of the Haitians speak English.''
The accident occurred in the Atlantic Ocean about 240 miles
southeast of Miami. A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman in Miami said
Bahamian officials had relayed a report on the accident but had
not asked for help in the search for survivors.