Maine cutter returns Haitians to island home

Posted Jan. 06, 2012, at 5:33 a.m.

MIAMI — A Maine-based Coast Guard cutter has returned 125 Haitians to their island country.

A Coast Guard air crew spotted the overloaded sail freighter this week and directed the Reliance to intercept the vessel. The Coast Guard crew distributed life jackets to the Haitians, took them aboard and provided them with food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Coast Guard Capt. Eduardo Pino says lives were placed needlessly at risk when the overloaded vessel left Haiti with little or no safety gear.

The 125 migrants were returned to Cap Haitien, Haiti, on Thursday. The 210-foot Reliance is homeported in Kittery.

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