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Four dead, 16 hurt in ship collision

A Bahamian Defense Force vessel patrols around the two vessels that collided off the southwest coast of Eleuthra.

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CNN) -- A ferry and a cargo vessel collided Saturday nine miles southwest of Eleuthra Island, Bahamas, killing four people, a Bahamian official told CNN.

The Coast Guard said it took 16 people by helicopter to a medical facility in Nassau. All the injuries were minor, the operations officer for the Bahamas Defense Force said.

The Coast Guard received a report from the Bahamas Search and Rescue Association at 1:30 a.m. of the collision between the 98-ft. ferry Sea Hauler and the 170-ft. cargo vessel United Star.

Search-and-rescue units were launched from Air Station Miami, Group Miami and Air Station Clearwater, including some Clearwater units forward-deployed to the Bahamas, the Coast Guard said.

All 192 passengers and crew have been accounted for, and the rescue operation is complete, the official said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the collision, which occurred amid scattered showers, the official said.

The two damaged vessels were being escorted to New Providence.

The ferry had been en route from Nassau to Cat Island, about 120 miles away.

The Coast Guard, the Royal Bahamian Defense Force and Royal Bahamian Police Force were involved in the response.

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