Sailing vessel sinks off Haiti killing at least 17

BBC News

At least 17 people, including two children, died off Haiti when the sailing boat they were on sank between Tortuga island and the fishing port of Saint-Louis-du-Nord.

Officials say those on board lived on Tortuga and had been to the main market in Saint-Louis-du-Nord.

Nine people have been rescued and the search continues for possible survivors. About 30 people are believed to have been on board when the boat sank.

“It sank because of high winds,” the head of the Haitian Maritime and Navigation Service (Semanah), Eric Prévost Junior, said.

He also said the boat, the Ancelita, was overloaded and had not been granted permission to sail.

Mr Prévost said that as there was no police presence in the port, the captain of the Ancelita had set sail regardless.

The Haitian President Jovenel Moïse tweeted his condolences, saying he shared the sorrow of the bereaved.

Shipwrecks are not unusual off the coast of Haiti as there is little control of boats setting sail or the amount of cargo they carry.

In 2018, 12 people died when their boat capsized making the crossing between Tortuga and Saint-Louis-du-Nord.

Tortuga island was given its name by Cristopher Columbus, who thought its shape resembled a tortoise (tortuga in Spanish).

More than 25,000 people live on the island, which measures 37km by seven km (23 by four miles).

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