The moonlight illuminated her fellow passengers, scattered through the chilly ocean 15 miles from the nearest land. Some of them screamed for help. Others bobbed silently face-down in the water.
Bahamas coast guard officers remove the body of a drowned migrant from a recovery vessel earlier this month.
As the voices grew quiet one by one, the student clung to the only life preserver she could find: the lifeless body of a Haitian who had shared her American dream.
“I was holding onto a dead woman to keep afloat,” said Rodene Fileresaint, 23.
Nine hours later, day broke and rescuers finally arrived. Two dozen people were dead. Three were alive, including Fileresaint.
She was still clinging to the corpse.
Thousands of Haitians fleeing poverty and hopelessness make the illegal crossing to Florida each year. The U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted 737 since January 1; nobody knows how many more have drowned or been killed by sharks.
This group of migrants took a common route, boarding a smuggler’s boat to the Bahamas, two survivors told The Associated Press late Wednesday from hospital beds. Bahamian police grabbed several of the migrants as they reached land, and those who escaped made it to a safehouse, where they spent two weeks waiting to move on.
On Saturday night they boarded a go-fast boat bound for Miami, with a planned stopover in Bimini, a speck of land where police don’t have a single boat to give chase. Fileresaint, the daughter of rice farmers, was excited, her dream of becoming a nurse in Miami finally within reach.
Fileresaint said she counted 27 people aboard the speedboat. Survivor Johnny Boucher, 26, said they were packed in shoulder-to-shoulder.
This was found @ CNN.com