A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said that at least 28 people had boarded the boat “Glory Time” on Monday and that while 11 bodies had been recovered, 12 other passengers were still missing.
The police said five other passengers were able to swim to shore.
The police said that the Haitians were heading to Florida from Abaco late on Monday and that a distressed call had been made after the boat encountered rough seas and was taking in water before capsizing.
The authorities said that “officers from the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the US Coast Guard, BASRA and other concerned citizens” responded to the call that had been received late Monday.
It said that the search and rescue was suspended late on Monday night “as a result of darkness and it is expected to continue at daylight Tuesday 12th June”.
The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched a plane based in Miami and a helicopter based on Andros Island, Bahamas, to help search for survivors.
Haitian migrants have been coming to the Bahamas for years, fleeing severe poverty in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. The migrants mostly try to reach the U.S., though some stay in the Bahamas to form a low-income workforce.