(CNN) — At least 18 people have died and 32 others have been rescued after a boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean on Wednesday, the government said in a Facebook statement.
A sailboat believed to be carrying suspected illegal immigrants was intercepted by the Marine Branch of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force after 3 a.m. Wednesday, and while the boat was being towed to a dock to unload the suspects, the sloop capsized, the government said.
Police were still searching Wednesday “for the handful of people who reached shore and fled the scene,” the government said.
The Marine Branch’s search for additional bodies in the water was being assisted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, the government said.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British territory.
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