Watch LIVE

20 people, including 2 children, found dead on a drifting boat off the coast of Turks and Caicos

News
Photo by Robert Cross/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A boat carrying 20 deceased people — including two children — was found drifting off the coast of Grand Turk island on Thursday morning.

Officials are still working to determine what happened but have ruled out foul play, and according to the Associated Press, authorities are working to determine the identities and home origin of the dead.

What are the details?

Area fisherman spotted what they said was a small boat in the early hours of Thursday morning and notified the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police Force.

Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said that the vessel was towed ashore and that the boat appeared to originate from outside the Caribbean. Botting added that investigators do not believe that Turks and Caicos was the vessel's final destination.

"My investigators are working to establish their identities and how they met their death," Botting said in a statement. "This work will take some time to complete. Whatever the circumstances, this is a tragic situation where many people have lost their lives, and the thoughts and prayers of the Force go out to t hose families who have lost a loved one."

"This incident was a human tragedy and a very distressing scene," Botting added.

According to the news agency, the islands are often a "magnet for desperate Haitians seeking to flee that poverty-stricken nation" and pointed out that the territory has also been used as a "transshipment point by human traffickers."

It is not clear at the time of this reporting whether the vessel began its ill-fated trip in Haiti.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said that "investigators are keeping an open mind as to how these people met their deaths."

Botting in the statement added, "In dealing with this situation, I want to pay tribute to my policing team on Grand Turk and those from Health and other TCIG agencies who assisted in the recovery of the bodies."

Further to a Press Release issued on Thursday, June 24th, 2021, the Royal Turk and Caicos Islands Police Force confirms that the human remains of 20 persons were recovered from the vessel yesterday. Work is now underway to establish their identity, the cause of death and the circumstances that led them to be found in the Turks and Caicos Islands waters.

Whilst the deaths are unexplained, there is no indication of foul play, and Investigators are keeping an open mind as to how these people met their deaths.

Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting said, "It is believed that the boat originates from outside of the Caribbean Region and that neither the Turks and Caicos Islands nor the Region was their intended destination. My investigators are working to establish their identities and how they met their death. This work will take some time to complete. Whatever the circumstances, this is a tragic situation where many people have lost their lives, and the thoughts and prayers of the Force go out to those families who have lost a loved one. We will do all we can to identify them and contact their families."

Commissioner Botting added, "In dealing with this situation, I want to pay tribute to my policing team on Grand Turk and those from Health and other TCIG agencies who assisted in the recovery of the bodies. This incident was a human tragedy and a very distressing scene. However, my officers have acted with professionalism, humanity and care in the very upsetting work they did yesterday to recover those who have died. I thank them for a job well done for the humanity and professionalism they have shown."
Most recent
All Articles