The dead body of a woman is seen floating on the Mediterranean sea. On February 4, 2019 at least 28 people were killed when a boat carrying migrants from Haiti sank off the coast of the Bahamas. File photo: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti.

Havana - At least 28 people were killed when a boat carrying migrants from Haiti sank off the coast of the Bahamas, the Miami Herald reported on Sunday, citing the Bahamian military.

A total of 17 people have been pulled from the waves alive, according to the report.

Search-and-rescue operations are continuing, Royal Bahamas Defense Force spokesman Jonathan Rolle told the newspaper.

Haiti's Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond called the Bahamas boat tragedy "really heartbreaking."

"They are our brothers and sisters who are seeking a better life and then they are met with this horrible death. It is really sad," Edmond said.

The vessel may have hit a reef late Friday off the coast of mainland Abaco in the northern Bahamas, which caused it to sink, the Miami Herald reported, citing information coming into the Bahamas' immigration department.

The Royal Bahamas Defense Force said the tragedy was discovered after residents reported finding four bodies in the waters near the entrance of Marsh Harbour in Abaco.

"No journey is worth risking lives - please urge families and communities: Illegal migrant & smuggling operations are dangerous and frequently end in tragedy," the US embassy in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince tweeted.

dpa