Friday, May 11, 2007

"God Help Me!"

That is what the Haitian refugees are reported to have been shouting as they drowned in heavy seas last Friday. There were 160 or so of them on the capsized sailboat; more than sixty died

Early reports said that their boat was "towed to safety" by a Turks and Caicos patrol boat. But that was reported while the survivors were still being held incommunicado. Even this was dubious -- towing an overcrowed boat in heavy weather, when the passengers have no life jackets, is a dubious rescue technique. But the truth appears to be far more disturbing.

As the survivors have begun to speak with reporters, disturbing new allegations have begin to appear: that their boat was minutes away from shore when it was rammed, perhaps twice, by the patrol boat. That the patrol boat towed the Haitians not to safety, but out into deeper (and shark-infested) water. That when the Haitians tried to pull themselves onto the patrol boat, they wwre beaten back with batons and abandoned in the water.

About half the passengers died.

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