September 27th, 2010
01:33 PM ET

13 drown, 8 missing after skiff getting Navy aid capsizes

A U.S. Navy boat works to rescue passengers from a capsized skiff in the Gulf of Aden.

Thirteen people drowned and eight are missing after a small skiff packed with more than seven dozen people capsized while getting aid from a U.S. Navy vessel in the Gulf of Aden, the U.S. military said Monday.

The skiff, packed with 75 Ethiopians and 10 Somalis, was spotted adrift in the gulf by a South Korean warship, which asked the guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill to provide assistance, according to a statement from the Combined Maritime Forces, which conducts anti-piracy patrols off the east coast of Africa.

The 9,500-ton, 513-foot long Churchill sent an inflatable boat to the aid of the skiff. After determining the skiff was without power, the inflatable towed it out of shipping lanes toward the Somali coast, the statement said.

At about 8:30 am local time Monday, U.S. sailors attempted to distribute fresh supplies to those aboard the skiff. As they did so, the Africans rushed to one side of the vessel, capsizing it, and sending all 85 passengers into the ocean.

Crews from the Churchill and an Australian patrol aircraft were able to rescue 61 of the skiff’s passengers. Thirteen drowned and eight were not found, the statement said.

The Navy was investigating the incident.

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Filed under: Africa • U.S. Navy
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Hoya

    Yes it's true that many Americans (obviously) don't know what it's like to live in extreme poverty or to be that despirate, however that doesn't change the FACT that rushing to one side of a boat that small IS going to make it tip over. When people get that desperate regardless of where you come from things like trampeling or fighting are going to happen. Chances are the US navy will be blamed for the deaths, but how could the situation have been any different? No matter how they handed out the food and water some type of fight or horrific event like the boat tipping over probably would have happened anyway.

    September 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. emilese

    Shah!! Indian origin ofcourse, can pretty much smell yourself. what do you mean ' smell Africa' when you can so just good smelling yourself. Ignorant!!!!

    September 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bud

    should of used them for target practice.

    September 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marines123

    Yes! When they saw that US Navy vessel with 6 inch guns they backed down and played the help me game just like they do to us in Iraq. I've witnessed this in Iraq. These are bad people in the ocean! Knowbody wants to screw with the US Navy. For the person who said USA USA what did we get. Hey! We got lots of oil, lots of pain medication opiom, lots of land, and knowbody has injured you because we are fighting for you in a place knowbody wants to go! Orah!

    September 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    Next time employ two inflatable boats to approach the skiff from both sides simultaneously. Problem solved.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marines123

    OK! Deckman.Good idea though! Inflatable boat was probably a recon boat. If you go on both sides might be dangerous if a firefight broke out with these untrusty intruders? We should of deployed floaties so they could hang on.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. anthony

    Spending billions on aid for other poelple in other countries....while decent giving ....compassionette people struggle and drown in a sea of.... rising made up goverment folks Need to live tough for awhile..i would like to see how civilized a bunch of rich folk would be without wine/cigars....much less food and hope...

    September 27, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. the_dude

    remember life is cheap for these people. I'm sure more that 20 people die a day in their homeland of gunshot wounds and drug addiction and aids.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      What does that have to do with anything? And by the way, many more people than that die every day in the U.S. from those exact same causes. These people's lives are not worth less because they come from a poorer country.

      September 27, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marines123

    We should take over Sommalia, and Haitti. Good for libo!

    September 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. abbey

    I wonder why some folk reason with their ass.rushing for food while hungry is human nature. The whole world watch Americans cry and rushed when katrina hit. Those folks want to survive but the sailors failed to manage the distribution well.resonable people should know what to expect in that kind of situation. May their soul rest in peace.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |

    to the people calling the people in the boat stupid, youre very right, Desperation does that to people.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Crater

    Disadvantaged humans lost their lives in a tragic accident, and people are making callous jokes and mean-spirited remarks. I hope all of you come to a better end than this poor lot, and that people will remember you for your good points, not the indecency and disrespect for life you showed here.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frightened by the ignorance

      My brother is on the USS Winston S. Churchill and I received and update from him today, this is what your jokes are aimed at...
      "I still find it amazing that initially we brought 16 people onboard who were unconscious
      and appeared dead, and through some of the bravest actions I've seen with my own eyes, my friends were able to bring back 3 of them and they are now walking around alive and well. Of the roughly 85 that we
      estimate were onboard that skiff, we now have 63 alive and well onboard, and getting medically checked out as we speak."

      We who are born in this country are the luckiest people on earth and I'm proud to be an American, not because we are a rich nation, but because we have people like Meggan and my brother who volunteer their lives for the betterment not only of our country but of the world. I am proud that my Military would stop to help those in need. If we choose not to concern ourselves with the well being of the rest of the world, America will cease to be a safe place to live.

      September 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jerry

    Some years back, I was involved with picking up Haitian migrants, also from very overloaded rickety boats.

    To this day, I remember one word of Haitian creole – Chita (pronounced shee-tah). It means "sit down". It was the absolute most important word to know, and we started yelling it 50 yards out.

    Overloaded boats capsize easy..........

    September 27, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bigheart

    They sank their skiff on purpose so that they would get picked up by the US.

    September 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Glenn

    Who really cares i dont. The usa should have let it sink

    September 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
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