Coral Harbour Base, February 4, 2019 – Bahamas – The RBDF resumed its dive operations earlier this morning. Yesterday, 15 Haitian nationals were rescued on a cay off Abaco and 13 lifeless bodies were retrieved from nearby waters during a joint effort consisting of local authorities (Police, Immigration and Defence Force) and boat operators.
Eight of the lifeless bodies were recovered from a sunken vessel that was spotted near Fowl Cay, 6 nautical miles off the coast of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, ny a US Coast Guard aircraft. Crewmembers aboard HMBS Durward Knowles subsequently conducted a dive operation along with a local diver and recovered the bodies from the vessel yesterday afternoon.
The RBDF resumed its dive operation with the assistance of local authorities and dive operators earlier this morning. As a result of today’s recovery effort, divers found an additional 15 bodies in the sunken vessel. Also, 2 more persons (Haitian nationals) were found alive on a nearby cay.
Thus far, a total of 17 persons have been rescued alive and 28 bodies have been recovered from the water.
The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, on behalf of the RBDF, thanks the United States Coast Guard, as well as all local authorities and members of the community; in particular, the Police Force and Immigration Department, Captain George Philpot (a Police Reservist) of the Hope Town Fire and Rescue Services, Michael Shereet of Dive Time Co. Ltd, Mr. David Knowles (Park Warden) and numerous good samaritans for their outstanding assistance during this tragic incident.
Police and Immigration officials are continuing their investigations into this tragic incident.