At least 18 migrants died Wednesday after the boat carrying them capsized off the coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the governor of that Caribbean archipelago, Peter Beckingham, said on Twitter.

The incident occurred early Wednesday after the 40-foot vessel carrying more than 50 Haitians had been intercepted and was being towed to port, the Turks and Caicos' Sun newspaper said.

Thirty-two of the Haitians were rescued and are being held at a migrant-detention center on the archipelago, the daily added.

The governor of that British overseas territory, a frequent destination of Haitian migrants fleeing their destitute homeland, said two bodies were recovered initially and that the 16 others were subsequently found by divers.

The operation is continuing in an effort to find more bodies at sea and track down migrants who may have tried to flee the authorities by swimming to shore.

The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement that it also participated in the rescue operation by providing a helicopter and several boats.

The incident comes a month after at least 30 Haitian migrants drowned when their boat capsized near Staniel Cay, part of The Bahamas. EFE