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Brazil says 19 migrants feared drowned off Bahamas


People on a boat carrying 267 migrants. PHOTO:AFP

People on a boat carrying 267 migrants. PHOTO:AFP

At least 19 Brazilian migrants who went missing last month are feared drowned off the Bahamas as they tried to cross illegally to the United States, officials in Brasilia said Monday.

“The fear is that the boat the Brazilians were traveling in went down in the Caribbean as it left the Bahamas,” according to Brazilian authorities on the official government information website, Portal Brasil.

The migrants’ families have not heard from them since November 6, the Brazilian foreign ministry said.

Brazilian media reports said there were also dozens of other migrants aboard the boat, which officials suspect went down while attempting the roughly 50-mile (80-kilometer) crossing between the Bahamas and the Florida coast.

“The Brazilian embassy in Nassau, Bahamas and the Brazilian consulate in Miami, Florida are in contact with family members and Caribbean and US authorities to try to locate the missing persons,” said Portal Brasil.

The Brazilian foreign ministry said it was not ruling out the possibility that the migrants could be in prison or missing for other reasons.

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