The boat carrying suspected illegal immigrants from Haiti to Turks and Caicos Islands was intercepted by police and capsized as it was being towed into port.

Seventeen Haitian migrants died on Wednesday when a boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands, the government said in a statement.

The boat carrying suspected illegal immigrants from Haiti to the Caribbean British territory was intercepted by police early Wednesday and capsized as it was being towed into port at 5.17 a.m. (3.47 p.m. IST).

Police were able to rescue 33 people from the water and they were being held by authorities. Police commissioner Colin Farquhar said the migrants “will be repatriated to Haiti at the earliest opportunity”. Seventeen bodies were recovered, officials said, revising downward the death toll after earlier reporting 18 people had been killed. No further casualties were expected.

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