A boat carrying the bodies of 20 people, including two children, has been found floating off the coast of Grand Turk island.
Fishermen found the boat about a mile from the coast on Thursday and alerted the local police force.
Authorities in the Turks and Caicos Islands recovered the bodies and are now working to establish the circumstances of the incident, as well as the identities of the dead.
Takara Bain, a communications officer with the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, said investigators had ruled out foul play.
The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said in a statement published on Facebook : “Whilst the deaths are unexplained, there is no indication of foul play, and investigators are keeping an open mind as to how these people met their deaths.”
Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said the boat appeared to have arrived from outside the Caribbean.
He added that investigators do not think Grand Turk island was the boat’s final destination.
Mr Botting said in a statement: “Whatever the circumstances, this is a tragic situation where many people have lost their lives, and the thoughts and prayers of the Force go out to those families who have lost a loved one.
“We will do all we can to identify them and contact their families.”
He added: “In dealing with this situation, I want to pay tribute to my policing team on Grand Turk and those from Health and other TCIG agencies who assisted in the recovery of the bodies.
“This incident was a human tragedy and a very distressing scene.
“However, my officers have acted with professionalism, humanity and care in the very upsetting work they did yesterday to recover those who have died.
“I thank them for a job well done for the humanity and professionalism they have shown.”
The day after the vessel was recovered, authorities in the Turks and Caicos Islands intercepted another vessel with 43 Haitian nationals onboard.
The 34 males, eight females and one minor, were handed over to the Immigration Task Force for processing and repatriation, police said
The Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory southeast of the Bahamas, are a small tropical archipelago with a population of just over 38,000 people.
The Turks group is composed of Grand Turk Island, Salt Cay, and smaller cays, while the Caicos group consists of six principal islands – South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle (or Grand) Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales and West Caicos.
Most of the population lives on South Caicos, Providenciales and Grand Turk.