NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Immigration Minister Keith Bell said bereavement counselors would be invited to the Carmichael Road Detention Center today to speak to survivors in shock from the weekend’s fatal boat crash. end.
“They’re still in shock,” Bell told Eyewitness News yesterday.
His comment came as authorities continued to investigate the tragedy, with police arresting a third Bahamian suspect in connection with the alleged human smuggling operation that killed 17 people in the waters off Blackbeard Cay. .
Bell said that so far authorities have confirmed that at least one of the 25 survivors is in possession of a valid work permit that allows her to be in the country legally.
“Another had a work permit that has expired,” he said, adding that officials were awaiting information from police about the status of the others.
Meanwhile, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force has changed the status of its search and rescue investigation to search and recovery, noting it is unlikely it will still be able to find people alive after the worst boating accident of this guy since 2019.
RBDF Commander William Sturrup said yesterday’s investigation involved surface and submersible searches in the waters off Blackbeard Cay.
He said the officers were assisted by a drone system he had and he led reporters to observe the drone system.
“The stage we’re in right now (is) search and recovery,” he said. “When we calculate the numbers we look at the probability of survival and when those chances are slim we consider many factors, whether individuals are wearing a flotation device, whether they can swim and how long can they last. without food or water. And when we put the numbers in, those numbers are low and we go into search and retrieve mode and that’s where we are.
Sturrup said officials had not found any other relevant bodies or objects since their initial search in the hours after the crash. He said the search area now extends from Blackbeard Cay almost to the Berry Islands.
“We will keep looking until we find something or until the probability of finding something is zero to zero,” he said. “We are in recovery mode. After recovery mode, there is another mode. After the recovery mode, we have to pause the search. We’re not saying we’re no longer looking for them, but once the search is suspended, all of our tampered assets in that area or civilian traffic will be on the lookout for anything.
He said computer-generated system data used by officials will determine when search efforts should be suspended.
While authorities said Sunday they believe up to 60 people were on board the capsized ship, Sturrup said officials now believe the number was 45.
“Our information suggests that there were 45 people on board the ship, so we are looking for three, but it is also possible that these numbers are incorrect, so we are only looking for bodies. The number, whether three, eight or ten, we just want to find them,” he said.