Source AP ©

Boat with Haitian migrants crashes in shark-swarmed water

A boat with Haitian migrants capsized early Friday near the Turks and Caicos Islands and about 20 bodies have been found. The U.S. Coast Guard was searching for approximately 58 missing migrants.

A Turks and Caicos police boat recovered 63 people from the vessel after it capsized before dawn one-half mile (less than a kilometer) south of Providenciales Island in the Atlantic Ocean, the Coast Guard said. The island belongs to the Turks and Caicos, a British territory.

Survivors told police that about 150 people had been on the capsized boat, a Coast Guard statement said.

An Associated Press reporter saw a dozen bodies that had been fished from the water and brought to South Dock, on Providenciales, which lies 120 miles (190 kilometers) north of Haiti. Some of the corpses were missing limbs.

The Coast Guard said the migrant vessel had capsized while being towed by a Turks and Caicos police boat at 4:30 a.m., but local authorities denied that.

When authorities here heard about the disaster, a police boat searched the waters in the darkness and found no victims, but when the boat returned at daybreak, rescuers found some bodies in the water, said a Turks and Caicos official who did not want his name used because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

In the late morning, a Turks and Caicos boat attached a line to the capsized vessel and began towing it to Providenciales, where it would be searched for victims.

The Coast Guard said it has deployed a C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and a cutter to assist in the search.

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