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Spanish police find two bodies in boat carrying migrants, drugs - Stars and Stripes

MADRID — Spanish police have recovered the bodies of two Moroccans from a boat that reached Spain's coast after crossing the Mediterranean Sea with migrants and a hashish shipment.

Police said Sunday that they found the bodies along with two other people who were suffering from hypothermia on Saturday after they were alerted that a rubber boat had reached a beach near Malaga. Police believe one of the dead could be a minor.

Police also found six kilograms of hashish near the boat. They suspect that the drugs belonged to boat's owner and the pilot, who police were looking for along with three others.
Police have located eight more Moroccan men from a total of 15 people they believe to have been on board.

Also on Sunday, Spain's maritime rescue service reported it had saved 179 people from seven boats its rescue craft intercepted either in the Strait of Gibraltar or nearby waters.

Earlier this week, at least 17 migrants died when attempting the perilous run from North Africa to Spanish shores.

According to the United Nations, over 2,160 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year, 564 of them trying to reach Spain.

Spain is one of the main entry points for Europe for thousands of migrants, many of whom are delivered by human traffickers.

Nearly 54,000 migrants have entered Europe this year through Spain. One-fifth of them arrived in October, the month with most migrant arrivals so far this year, according to U.N. statistics.

Source: www.stripes.com

Missouri tour boat captain indicted after sinking kills 17 - Stars and Stripes

A duck boat that sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., is raised after it went down the evening of July 19, 2018, killing 17 people. A federal indictment released Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, charges the boat's captain Kenneth Scott McKee with 17 counts of misconduct, negligence or inattention to duty by a ship's officer, resulting in death.

NATHAN PAPES/THE SPRINGFIELD NEWS-LEADER VIA AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Charges have been filed against the captain of a tourist boat that sank in a southwest Missouri lake in July and killed 17 people, including nine members of an Indiana family, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

A federal indictment shows 51-year-old Kenneth Scott McKee is facing 17 counts of misconduct, negligence or inattention to duty by a ship's officer resulting in death. The deaths occurred when an amphibious vessel known as a duck boat sank during a sudden and severe storm.

McKee failed to tell passengers to put on their flotation devices or prepare to abandon ship as waves crashed into the boat, which was originally designed for military use in World War II but had been refurbished as a tourist attraction, according to the indictment .

He also is accused of not properly assessing the weather before or after the boat went into Table Rock Lake near the tourist town of Branson, U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said during a news conference in Springfield.

"This is the beginning, not the end, of our efforts in this matter," Garrison said, adding that he couldn't comment on specifics about the investigation.

Ripley Entertainment, the company that operated the boats and suspended the operation following the accident, didn't immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press. McKee's attorney declined comment.

Tia Coleman — who lost her husband, three children and five other family members in the sinking — released a statement Thursday saying she was pleased an indictment had been filed.

"While nothing can ever ease the grief in my heart, I am grateful that the U.S. Attorney's Office is fighting for justice for my family, and the other victims, and is committed to holding fully accountable all those responsible for this tragedy," said Coleman, who was among 14 people who survived the sinking.

The U.S. Coast Guard had found probable cause that the accident resulted from McKee's "misconduct, negligence, or inattention to the duties," according to an August court filing. The U.S. attorney's office added that the captain of a second duck boat that safely made it to shore during the storm acted in a "grossly negligent manner," though the court filing didn't elaborate on those findings.

The sinking killed Coleman's relatives while they vacationed from Indiana. The other people killed included two couples from Missouri, an Illinois woman who died while saving her granddaughter's life, an Arkansas father and son, and a retired pastor who was the boat's operator on land.

Several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims, their relatives and survivors of the sinking against Ripley Entertainment and other companies involved with the manufacture and operation of the boats. Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney representing Coleman and several others who filed lawsuits, said he's confident the investigation will go beyond McKee.

A spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment has repeatedly declined to comment on the investigation but has said the company has cooperated with authorities.

Garrison said McKee violated conditions specified in the boat's certificate of inspection by failing to tell passengers to put on personal floatation devices and not immediately increasing speed and driving to the nearest shore, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges McKee allowed the boat's plastic side curtains to be lowered, which blocked the exits, and didn't instruct passengers to put on flotation devices or prepare...

Source: www.stripes.com

More crossing US-Mexico border come from far-flung lands - Stars and Stripes

SALEM, Ore. — The young man traversed Andean mountains, plains and cities in buses, took a harrowing boat ride in which five fellow migrants drowned, walked through thick jungle for days, and finally reached the U.S.-Mexico border.

Then Abdoulaye Camara, from the poor West African country of Mauritania, asked U.S. officials for asylum.

Camara's arduous journey highlights how immigration to the United States through its southern border is evolving. Instead of being almost exclusively people from Latin America, the stream of migrants crossing the Mexican border these days includes many who come from the other side of the world.

Almost 3,000 citizens of India were apprehended entering the U.S. from Mexico last year. In 2007, only 76 were. The number of Nepalese rose from just four in 2007 to 647 last year. More people from Africa are also seeking to get into the United States, with hundreds having reached Mexican towns across the border from Texas in recent weeks, according to local news reports from both sides of the border.

Camara's journey began more than a year ago in the small town of Toulel, in southern Mauritania. He left Mauritania, where slavery is illegal but still practiced, "because it's a country that doesn't know human rights," he said.

Camara was one of 124 migrants who ended up in a federal prison in Oregon after being detained in the U.S. near the border with Mexico in May, the result of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

He was released Oct. 3, after he had passed his "credible fear" exam, the first step on obtaining asylum, and members of the community near the prison donated money for his bond. He was assisted by lawyers working pro bono.

"My heart is so gracious, and I am so happy. I really thank my lawyers who got me out of that detention," Camara said in French as he rode in a car away from the prison.

Camara's journey was epic, yet more people are making similar treks to reach the United States. It took him from his village on the edge of the Sahara desert to Morocco by plane and then a flight to Brazil. He stayed there 15 months, picking apples in orchards and saving his earnings as best he could. Finally he felt he had enough to make it to the United States.

All that lay between him and the U.S. border was 6,000 miles (9,700 kilometers).

"It was very, very difficult," said Camara, 30. "I climbed mountains, I crossed rivers. I crossed many rivers, the sea."

Camara learned Portuguese in Brazil and could understand a lot of Spanish, which is similar, but not speak it very well. He rode buses through Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Then he and others on the migrant trail faced the most serious obstacle: the Darien Gap, a 60-mile (97-kilometer) stretch of roadless jungle straddling the border of Colombia and Panama.

But first, he and other travelers who gathered in the town of Turbo, Colombia, had to cross the Gulf of Uraba, a long and wide inlet from the Caribbean Sea. Turbo, on its southeast shore, has become a major point on the migrant trail, where travelers can resupply and where human smugglers offer boat rides.

Camara and about 75 other people boarded a launch for Capurgana, a village next to the Panamanian border on the other end of the gulf.

While the slow-moving boat was far from shore, the seas got very rough.

"There was a wave that came and tipped over the canoe," Camara said. "Five people fell into the water, and they couldn't swim."

They all drowned, he said. The survivors pushed on.

Finally arriving in Capurgana after spending two nights on the boat, the migrants split into smaller groups to cross the infamous Darien Gap, a wild place that has tested the most seasoned of travelers. The thick jungle hides swamps that can swallow a man. Lost travelers have died, and been devoured, boots and all, by packs of wild boars, or have been found, half...

Source: www.stripes.com









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