ROME (AP) – At least 43 migrants were killed when their packed wooden boat crashed into rocky cliffs near southern Italy early Sunday, the Italian coast guard said.
A Coast Guard statement shortly before noon said, “So far, 80 people were recovered alive – some of whom managed to reach shore after the shipwreck – and 43 bodies were found on shore. “
Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni said the migrants were packed into a 20-metre (66-foot) long boat in “adverse weather conditions”. In a statement released by his office, he expressed “deep sorrow for the many human lives ruined by human traffickers.”
It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men, women and children for the ‘price’ of a ticket paid by them in the false prospect of a safe journey. Pravasi League Party.
She used her leadership to press for action on organized departures by human traffickers and to pressure fellow EU leaders to help Italy in her search.
Part of the boat, with piles of scattered wood, lies on the beach at Staccato di Cutro, part of Calabria’s coastline along the Ionian Sea. Some of the survivors tried to keep warm by wrapping themselves in colored blankets or sheets.
A helicopter and motorboat were deployed in the search effort, which included state firefighters, Border Police and Coast Guard vessels.
A Coast Guard motorboat rescued two people suffering from hypothermia and recovered the body of a boy in rough seas, a statement said. Fire boats, including rescue divers, recovered 28 bodies, three of whom were pulled away from the wreckage by a strong current.
Italy’s news agency AGI said the bodies included the body of a few-month-old baby.
Pope Francis expressed his sorrow on Sunday that children were involved in the shipwreck.
Francis told the faithful in St Peter’s Square: “I pray for each one of them, for the missing and for the other migrants who survived.” The pontiff said he was also praying for the rescuers and for the “welcomers” of the migrants.
“It is a huge tragedy,” Crotone mayor Vincenzo Vos told RAI state TV.
“In solidarity, the city will find a place in the cemetery” for the dead, Vos said.
Details about the nationality of the migrants were not immediately provided in the reports.
It was also not clear where the boat had left, but migrant ships arriving in Calabria usually depart from the Turkish or Egyptian coasts. Many of these boats, including sailboats, reach remote parts of Italy’s long southern coastline, often aided by coast guard or humanitarian rescue ships.
Another sea route employed by smugglers, considered one of the deadliest for migration, crosses the central Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, where migrants often face brutal detention conditions for months before they can make their way home. Board rubber dinghy or old wooden fishing boats to the Italian coast.
Most migrants departing Libya are fleeing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa or Asian countries including Bangladesh and Pakistan, not war or persecution, and are at risk of being refused asylum by Italian authorities.
Another heavily infested route by smugglers’ boats begins off the coast of Tunisia, many of which often reach the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, or Sardinian beaches, without needing rescue.
Meloni’s government has focused on a complex effort of humanitarian boats Many rescues were carried out in the central Mediterranean by designating them unloading ports along Italy’s northern coasts, meaning that the ships needed more time to return to sea, carrying the rescued people, often hundreds of migrants. bring them safely to shore.