Six lifeless bodies belonging to migrants seeking to cross the border with Panama on their journey to the United States were rescued, Colombian authorities reported Tuesday.
The castaways were found after spending several days on a beach without inhabitants located on the north coast of the Pacific Ocean. They were seen by the inhabitants of nearby communities, who notified the authorities to remove the bodies.
“They were in a state of decomposition. They only had the bone part and remains of clothing, ”Jenny Lucia Rivas, mayor of Juradó, the municipality where the bodies were found, told The Associated Press, which has been configured as an alternate transit route for undocumented migrants by sea that it prevents them from crossing the dangerous Darien Jungle.
Vice Admiral Francisco Cubides Granados, commander of the Pacific Naval Force, explained to the AP that in recent months this transit of migrants through the Pacific has increased. “It is a new path that they have been exploring, although it continues to be more popular in the Caribbean,” said Cubides.
The distance between the point of the shipwreck and the coast of Panama is 60 kilometers or 33 nautical miles, which translates into about six hours by boat, which can be dangerous if you do not have security measures. “If they had worn life jackets, everyone would have survived,” said the commander.
“Towards the sector with the border with Panama, currents converge that, added to the tide, sometimes make navigability very difficult. We are in a rainy season, the Pacific has the highest rainfall in the world, which also makes visibility difficult ”, added Cubides.
The three-corps rescue operation began on December 27, 2021, but it was only carried out this Tuesday due to difficulties in “climatic and geographical conditions,” the Colombian Navy explained in a statement.
These bodies could correspond to a group of migrants who were shipwrecked on December 18 in that same sector known as Punta Piña, in Chocó, the Navy added.
In this shipwreck, three lifeless bodies had previously been reported, including that of a woman and a baby, in addition to 11 survivors rescued by fishermen. One of them was taken to a medical center for chemical burns on his body.
The crew of the boat made it out alive, but fled for fear of the legal consequences of being charged with the crime of migrant smuggling, the Navy said.
The bodies of the castaways were buried in Bahía Solano, a neighboring municipality without going through an identification process but in individual graves in case a claim or repatriation is made, explained Rivas.
Some of the migrants who were shipwrecked were from Uzbekistan, the community informed the mayor after rescuing them.
Migration to the north of the continent has been mainly of the Haitian population from Chile and Brazil, countries in which they lived after the earthquake that shook their country in 2010.
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