20 Dead Bodies Found on Boat Near Turks and Caicos Islands

A boat with 20 dead bodies on-board, including 2 children, was found drifting about a mile off the coast of Grand Turk island last Thursday.

Grand Turk Island

Image via Getty/virsuziglis

Grand Turk Island

A boat with 20 dead bodies on-board, including two children, was found drifting roughly a mile off Grand Turk island, which is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Foul play has been ruled out by investigators, but they’re still trying to uncover what happened. Authorities are also trying to learn the identities of the deceased on-board.

The boat was spotted on Thursday morning by fisherman. The marine branch of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force was alerted, and the vessel was subsequently towed back to shore. 

No specifics were provided, but police communications officer Takara Bain stated in a news release that foul play is not suspected. 

The Associated Press adds that Police Commissioner Trevor Botting believes the boat came from outside the Caribbean and that Turks and Caicos isn’t believed to have been its intended destination. 

The Turks and Caicos are a popular target for Haitians looking to flee their home country. The AP says that the territory is also a popular intermediate destination for human traffickers. 

Last year, a Sri Lanka-born Canadian citizen, Srikajamukam Chelliah, filed a guilty plea on human trafficking charges in front of a Turks and Caicos judge after he was found captaining a boat with 158 people on it. Chelliah got a 14-month prison sentence, then was extradited to Florida where he received a 32-month prison sentence on charges of conspiring to smuggle those on-board into the U.S.

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