SANTO DOMINGO – At least six Haitians drowned after the rickety boat in which they were sailing with 16 others, in an attempt to reach the shores of Puerto Rico, foundered in waters off the eastern Dominican Republic, local authorities said.
The six bodies were recovered off the coast between the communities of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio, at some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Santo Domingo.
The Dominican navy said its ships, together with the fire-rescue squad at Boca Chica and a private vessel, recovered the six bodies as well as the 16 survivors.
The navy said the bodies were taken to the public hospital in Boca Chica, while those rescued – 14 Haitians and two Dominican nationals – are all in good health.
The Dominican Republic is separated from Puerto Rico by the Mona Passage, a channel 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide. The journey is a dangerous one and many migrants die trying to reach U.S. territory.
So far this year, the Dominican navy has detained upwards of 400 people, more than half of them Haitians, bound for Puerto Rico in small boats.