Latin America & Caribbean

Rescue operation as boat with Haitian migrants capsizes

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Media captionThe US Coast Guard said over 100 people had been rescued

A rescue operation is under way in the Bahamas, after a 12m (40ft) vessel carrying Haitian migrants ran aground and capsized.

The US Coast Guard said about 100 migrants were clinging to the hull of the overturned boat.

Up to 30 people may have died in the accident which occurred on Monday near Staniel Cay, a Bahamas official said.

Haitian migrants often head to the Bahamas or pass by on their way to the United States.

The US Coast Guard and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force were at the scene.

A spokesman in Miami said the rescuers had dropped life rafts, food and supplies to the survivors.

Thirteen Haitians survivors were rescued by helicopter, he said.

It is not clear whether the migrants were heading to the Bahamans or if their final destination was the US.

Fatal accidents at sea involving migrants from Haiti, the Western hemisphere's poorest nation, are not uncommon.

In December 2011, 38 migrants were found dead after their boat sank just off the eastern tip of Cuba.

And in 2009, US Coast Guard officials called off their search for about 70 migrants from Haiti whose boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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