The number of migrants killed in a shipwreck that occurred early on Sunday near the Italian town of Crotone, in Calabria, in southern Italy, has risen to 59, said the mayor of this locality.
“Until a few minutes ago, the number of confirmed victims was 59”, said Vincenzo Voce to the Sky news channel TG-24, at 16:00 local time (15:00 in Lisbon).
In the previous balance, the Italian rescue teams reported 45 bodies of migrants found and 80 survivors of the shipwreck that occurred today at dawn in southern Italy, but they feared that there could be more fatalities.
Among the victims are many children, including a newborn baby, and women, according to rescuers.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her “deep regret” over the tragedy in a statement and said it was “criminal to put a 20-metre boat with 200 people on board and a forecast of bad weather” at sea.
The uncertainty as to the number of victims is due to different reports by survivors as to the people traveling on the ship that sank.
The number of passengers advanced by survivors varies between 150 and 250, said members of the rescue teams, admitting that there are difficulties in communicating with the migrants because of the language.
The Italian press reported that the migrants are from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, after initially mentioning the presence of Pakistanis.
According to the coast guard, the boat broke up on the rocks a few meters from the coast, at a time when the sea was very rough.
Images from the Italian police showed wooden wreckage scattered along a hundred meters of beach, where many rescuers and survivors were waiting to be transferred to a reception centre.
Meloni said that the Government is committed to preventing the departure of ships in conditions that result in tragedies like today’s, and promised to continue to do so, “requiring above all the greater collaboration of the States of departure and origin”.
This shipwreck came just days after parliament approved controversial new rules on rescuing migrants, formulated by the far-right-dominated executive.
Read more at: Diário de Notícias