Saturday, March 3, 2007

50 Migrant Haitians missing after boat fire

Haitians missing after boat fire By JONATHAN M. KATZ Associated Press Writer

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Friday for nearly 50 Haitian migrants feared dead after their homemade boat caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean, an agency spokesman said. Crews stopped looking for survivors and remains after a nearly 31-hour search across 1,250 square miles yielded only the remains of five passengers, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Barry Bena said.

Two of the estimated 56 passengers were rescued Tuesday by an American couple sailing from Panama to Antigua. The migrants were traveling from the northern Haitian town of Cap-Haitien to the Turks and Caicos Islands when a fuel tank exploded about 23 miles north of the Dominican Republic and sank the fiberglass boat, the survivors told their rescuers. Authorities did not know when the blaze occurred or when the migrants set sail.

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