At least 11 people died off the west coast of Puerto Rico on Thursday after a boat with dozens of migrants on board capsized, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. Local sources, the vessel suspected of transporting migrants from the Dominican Republic overturned about 19 kilometers north of Puerto Rico's Desecheo Islet.
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The U.S. coastal force detailed that 31 survivors had been rescued and that, in conjunction with Puerto Rican forces, a large rescue operation was being carried out in the area. Troops are also supporting this massive operation from the Maritime Units of the United Rapid Action Forces (FURA) of the municipalities of Aguadilla and Añasco.
The Puerto Rican Coast Guard received a report from a Customs and Border Protection plane that said it had seen a boat and people around it who did not appear to be wearing life jackets.
The region known as the Mona Channel, located between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, is a busy route for human smugglers and migrants, and almost weekly arrests of vessels occur, including Thursday; authorities had announced the deportation of 44 Dominicans intercepted in this area.
The few security measures and the disrespect of the navigation rules regarding the weight established for each vessel cause the numerous coastal incidents that also occur in this region.
Just three days ago, the Coast Guard reported the rescue of 68 people during a shipwreck and the recovery of the body of a deceased woman.