SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Rescuers have called off the search for victims of a boat accident off Puerto Rico's west coast that killed at least 10 illegal Dominican migrants and left 33 missing, an immigration official said Friday.
Police and federal agents did not find any more survivors or victims Thursday and called off their search about nightfall, said Ivan Ortiz, spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Immigration agents have deported 12 of the 27 survivors they had in custody, and expected to send the rest back by Tuesday, Ortiz said. Search teams recovered 10 bodies from Wednesday's accident, but rough seas made their task difficult.
Authorities said some of the 33 missing likely had run off into the coastal brush and hills to avoid deportation. The boat had been carrying an estimated 70 Dominicans.
Survivors said the boat was smashed apart in heavy waves Wednesday morning just 60 yards from shore near the town of Isabela, while its crew was trying to rescue a woman who had fallen overboard. The Dominican Republic is about 75 miles west of the U.S. Caribbean territory.