Hundreds missing after migrant boat sinks near Italian island, 50 rescuedApril 6th, 2011 - 8:44 pm ICT by BNO News
LAMPEDUSA, ITALY (BNO NEWS) — More than 250 people are feared to have drowned after a migrant boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday morning, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. Others have been rescued.
The incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday after a vessel, laden beyond its capacity, sank about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off Lampedusa. It had earlier left the Libyan coast with migrants and asylum seekers from Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Chad and Sudan.
IOM officers were at the scene on Wednesday afternoon to provide first aid and counselling to those who survived the disaster. They said their boat sank during rough seas, and some media reports indicated the boat had capsized.
IOM officials reported that the boat was carrying more than 300 people, including at least 40 women and 5 young children. Of them, 47 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard while 3 others were saved by an Italian fishing boat.
Several survivors told IOM officers that the boat was already sinking when rescuers arrived but that they managed to swim towards an approaching Coast Guard ship. Others drowned because they either couldn’t swim or were dragged down by desperate fellow passengers, IOM said.
“The survivors are all in a state of shock,” said IOM Legal Expert Simona Moscarelli. “One man told me he had lost his one year old son. One of the two surviving women told me how she had lost her husband.”
The surviving migrants were later transferred to Loran base, a facility where the Italian authorities are sheltering migrants coming from Libya, in order not to mix them with the migrants arriving from Tunisia.
Since the beginning of February, the island of Lampedusa has been overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 20,000 migrants. The majority of them are Tunisian coming from the Tunisian port of Zarzis, Djerba and Sfax. Over the past ten days, more than 2,000 mostly African migrants and asylum seekers have landed on the island after having sailed from the Libyan coast.
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- 150 killed in Mediterranean boat capsize: UN - Jun 04, 2011
- Five migrants found dead in boat near Italy - Mar 17, 2012
- 25 migrants found dead as boat reaches Italy - Aug 01, 2011
- Indonesia rescues 120 asylum seekers who refuse to disembark - Apr 10, 2012
- Two human traffickers held in Italy - Apr 23, 2011
- Libya unrest may unleash wave of 350,000 migrants: Italy - Feb 24, 2011
- Australia says boat carrying 67 asylum seekers is missing - Aug 15, 2012
- Boat with 200 asylum seekers capsizes off Australia - Jun 21, 2012
- 54 Africans died at sea during voyage to Italy - Jul 11, 2012
- Berlusconi, Sarkozy call for changes to Schengen treaty - Apr 27, 2011
- Australia intercepts boats carrying more than 300 asylum seekers - May 07, 2012
- Three Bangladeshi evacuees from Libya drown off Crete - Mar 07, 2011
- 5,000 Tunisian immigrants arrive in Italy - Feb 15, 2011
- Australian navy intercepts 119 asylum seekers - Jan 08, 2012
Tags: asylum seekers, bno, coast guard ship, cote d ivoire, fellow passengers, fishing boat, international organization for migration, italian authorities, italian coast, italian island, ivory coast, legal expert, libyan coast, loran, migrants, rough seas, sfax, state of shock, tunisian port, wednesday afternoon