Death toll in Italian migrant shipwreck rises to 61

ROME, Feb 27 (Reuters) – The death toll in a migrant shipwreck off the southern Italian coast has risen to 61, an Italian official told Reuters on Monday, as the search for the missing continued.

A wooden sailing boat carrying migrants to Europe had set sail from Turkey and struck rocks near Staccato di Cutro, a seaside resort on Calabria’s east coast, in the early hours of Sunday.

A total of 61 people have died so far, while 80 have been rescued, said Manuela Kurra, a provincial government official.

Officials had earlier said the vessel was carrying people from Afghanistan, Iran and several other countries and that 12 children were among the victims.

Based on reports from survivors, officials believe that a total of 180 to 200 people were on board.

A survivor was arrested on Sunday on charges of migrant smuggling, but Guardia di Finanza customs police said they were finalizing the arrests of two more people suspected of collaborating with the alleged smuggler.

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the charity working on the ground, said they were helping many people whose relatives were lost in the shipwreck.

MSF’s Sergio Di Dato said: “We have cases of children who have been orphaned, such as a 12-year-old Afghan boy who lost his entire family, nine including four siblings, parents and other close relatives. family of people.” ,

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday that more than two dozen Pakistanis were believed to have drowned.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni and Angelo Amante, Writing by Angelo Amante, Editing by Gianluca Semeraro and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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