SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic – At least three people were killed and 13 others reported missing when a small boat sank after sailing from Playa Grande, a town in the northeastern Dominican Republic, for Puerto Rico, emergency management officials said Tuesday.
The body of a former National Police captain has been recovered and the bodies of two 17-year-old boys were spotted in the water, the emergency management chief in the area, Minerva Santos, told reporters.
The small boat apparently hit a reef and split in two, Santos said.
Emergency management office workers, navy personnel and the victims’ relatives are conducting the search for the missing occupants of the boat.
Thousands of Dominicans try to reach the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico every year, preferring to risk their lives rather than continue living in poverty in their homeland.
Usually traveling aboard a type of rickety wooden craft known as a “yola,” many migrants drown each year on the treacherous journey across the Mona Passage. EFE