JO - Haitian survivors say Turks officials left them for dead
Haitian survivors say Turks officials left them for dead
Saturday, May 12, 2007
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti (AP) - Survivors of a capsizing that killed at least 61 Haitian migrants said a Turks and Caicos patrol boat rammed them, towed them into deeper water and abandoned their overturned vessel.
"Our boat flipped over and they just left us out there," said Dona Daniel, 23, one of a half-dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press on Thursday after they were repatriated to Haiti from the nearby British territory.
The survivors said some migrants tried desperately to pull themselves aboard the patrol boat but were beaten back with wooden batons.
Others were run over by the patrol boat after they were flung into the shark-filled waters as their boat capsized, said Lovderson Nacon, 19.
Many of the migrants did not know how to swim and were screaming "God help me!" in the darkness, Nacon said.
The Haitians said their sailboat, loaded with an estimated 160 people, was minutes away from the shore of Providenciales, one of the Turks and Caicos Islands, on May 4 when the patrol boat rammed them before dawn.
The Turks and Caicos government has said it will not comment until two investigations are completed. Britain's Foreign Office also declined to comment on the capsizing in its island territory. One probe is being conducted by the local government, and three government experts from Britain are carrying out an independent investigation.