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Posted Monday, April 21, 2008
After nearly a week of riots, 20 migrants found drowned off Bahamas

The bodies of 20 migrants have been pulled from waters near the Bahamas, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

The boat carrying the migrants from Haiti and Honduras capsized about 25 kilometres northwest of Nassau on Saturday night, officials said after interviewing survivors.

Coast guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson said all the dead migrants were Haitian, correcting an initial report that one of the 20 was Honduran.

Coast guard spokesman Barry Bena, in Miami, said three survivors, two Haitians and a Honduran, had also been found.

The survivors said their boat had been carrying 24 people, coast guard spokesman Luis Diaz said. A coast guard cutter, helicopter and jet, along with two military vessels from the Bahamas, continued to search the area Monday for the remaining migrant.

Diaz said the Bahamian government was holding the survivors.

The search-and-rescue mission started Sunday after fishermen heard people screaming in the water.

Thousands of Haitians try to leave the country every year in overloaded boats for other islands or the United States.

Last year, a boat carrying migrants capsized near the Turks and Caicos islands, killing at least 61 people.

With files from the Associated Press

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