Local April 12, 2012 | 11:26 am

Haitians join Dominican boatpeople’s perilous quest to the U.S.

Higüey, Dominican Republic.- Dominican boatpeople’s desperate quest to reach Puerto Rico has now widened to include the even more impoverished Haitians, as evidenced in yesterday’s shipwreck in an isolated beach, in eastern Altagracia province.

Several Haitians who survived the mishap near Punta el Coco said they each paid around US$2,000 to try to reach Puerto Rico. Josefa Pie said that set off at 4pm yesterday from the beach near Nisibón, where they were allegedly seen off by two Navy sailors, believed to be in cahoots with the trip’s organizers.

At least 14 men and 8 women have been rescued thus far near La Vacama beach after the 32-foot boat with two outboard motors hit rocks and sank near shore.

One Dominican and three Haitian women were hospitalized after the rescue. Clarisse Vásquez, 25; Nairobi Jean, 22, Josefa Pie, 28 and Evelyn Joseph, 23

“There are six people among us of Haitian nationality missing, three men and three women,” said one of the survivors who didn’t want their name used. They said they were saved miraculously by holding on to the boat’s remnants and gas tanks until reaching land.

The shipwreck reportedly resulted from a fight among the boatpeople, some of whom wanted to return to shore on fears of the high swells.

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