SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ A survivor of a boat carrying Dominicans trying to sneak into Puerto Rico told a horrible tale Monday of 10 days adrift at sea during which 14 people died.

As passengers died from thirst and exposure to the sun, the survivors threw their bodies overboard, said Skarlet Brano from her hospital bed.

``We thought we would not survive because we were drifting wherever the boat took us,'' Brano said.

Elpidio Baez, director of Dominican Civil Defense, said 39 people set off Jan. 28 in a 25-foot boat from the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic, hoping to cross the 80-mile-wide Mona Channel and sneak into Puerto Rico.

But the boat's motor gave out almost immediately and they drifted aimlessly under a hot tropical sun for 10 days, Baez said.

On Sunday, the survivors were picked up by a passing barge, 55 miles south of Santo Domingo, far from their intended course.

Baez said all the survivors suffered from dehydration and second-degree burns from sun exposure.

The U.S. Coast Guard and immigration officials pick up hundreds of Dominicans each year who try to illegally enter Puerto Rico.