Up to 60 people may have been on board and more people were presumed missing, Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander said.

Bahamian authorities said that two people were taken into custody, both from Bahamas, over the suspected human smuggling operation. All those on board recovered alive or dead or who were still missing were believed to be migrants from Haiti.

The Bahamas police said the boat capsized some 7 miles (11 kilometers) off the island of New Providence.

The Bahamas is a frequent transit route for Haitians seeking to reach the United States. Dangerous sea voyages in rickety vessels have become increasingly common over the last year as Haitians flee poverty and rising gang violence.

Immigration Minister Keith Bell said survivors indicated that they paid between $3,000 and $8,000 for the voyage.

"We mourn lives lost of those seeking a better way of life," Bell said. "Those here with families and friends in Haiti, encourage your loved ones not to risk their lives."

In May, a boat carrying 842 Haitian migrants bound for the United States strayed off course and washed ashore along the north coast of Cuba instead.

That same month, 11 people drowned when a vessel carrying Haitian migrants capsized near Puerto Rico.

Haiti marks anniversary of Moise murder as gang violence spirals.

Boat carrying 800 Haitians en route to United States washes ashore in Cuba instead.

Eleven dead after Haitian migrant vessel capsizes near Puerto Rico.

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