The New York Times
March 19, 2001

17 Dominicans Die in Shipwreck Off Haitian Coast


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 18 (AP) Seventeen people trying to reach Puerto Rico died after their boat crashed on a coral reef off
the Haitian coast, authorities said today, and more than 40 others were presumed dead.

A survivor, Carlos Piñero, told authorities that about 60 Dominicans were aboard the sailboat when it left the southern Dominican coastal town of
La Romana.

It had apparently been adrift for 24 days in the Caribbean before the accident on Thursday.

Sixteen bodies have washed up on shore at Île-à-Vache, a small Haitian island about 90 miles southwest of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

One of three known survivors died Friday night and a second survivor was in stable condition, said Karen Ramírez, a spokeswoman from the
Dominican Embassy in Haiti.

There was no official search for survivors. The bodies, badly decomposed, were to be buried in a mass grave in Haiti, Ms. Ramírez said.

Each year, thousands of Dominicans seeking to reach the United States try to make the 75-mile journey through rough waters.

The Dominican Navy chief, Luis Alberto Humeau Hidalgo, said the navy had been cracking down on illegal voyages.

Three boats, each carrying dozens of people, have been stopped in the past two weeks, the newspaper El Siglo reported today.