A refugee vessel has sunk off the northern coast of the Caribbean island of Haiti, leaving 40 people missing.
Haiti’s civil emergency agency said seven people were rescued on Sunday during the search operation in the seas off the island of La Tortue.
According to the survivors of the incident, three of whom were hospitalized on their return to Haiti, the vessel was carrying 50 people when it drowned.
The vessel submerged shortly after leaving La Tortue early in the day for Providenciales Island in the northern Turks and Caicos archipelago, 200 kilometers to the north.
In Haiti, more than 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
Many Haitians attempt to illegally reach the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos in search of a better life.
Over the past five years, thousands of young Haitians have headed to South American countries such as Chile or Brazil, countries where visas are more easily obtained.
Haitian refugees have in the past favored to go to the United States, however, the flow of immigrants has shifted to Canada and other neighboring countries after US President Donald Trump started new travel restrictions against immigrants headed to the country.