Italy shipwreck: 43 dead after migrant boat breaks apart

Rome –

At least 43 migrants were killed when an overcrowded wooden boat slammed into a reef off southern Italy early Sunday morning, the Italian Coast Guard said.

Shortly before noon, a Coast Guard statement said, “Today, 80 people have been recovered alive, some of them successfully reaching shore after the shipwreck, and 43 bodies have been found along the shore.” said.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said migrants were pushed into a 20-metre-long boat in “bad weather”. In a statement released by her office, she expressed “deep sorrow at the many lives that have been torn apart by human traffickers.”

“It is inhumane to trade the lives of men, women and children for the ‘price’ of air tickets they have paid for the false prospect of safe voyage,” Meloni said. -Immigrant League Party.

She vowed to use her leadership to crack down on departures arranged by human smugglers and to pressure fellow European Union leaders to support Italy’s quest.

Some of the boats littered the beach of Stictarto di Cutro, part of Calabria’s coastline along the Ionian Sea, along with piles of shattered trees. Some survivors wrapped themselves in what appeared to be colorful blankets and sheets to try to keep warm.

Helicopters and motorboats, including state firefighters, border police and Coast Guard vessels, were deployed in the search operation.

A Coast Guard motorboat rescued two men suffering from hypothermia and recovered the boy’s body in rough waters, a statement said. Twenty-eight bodies were recovered, including three who were dragged into the wreckage.

Italian news agency AGI said that among the corpses was a baby several months old.

Pope Francis lamented on Sunday that children were among the shipwreck victims.

Francis told believers in St. Peter’s Square: The pope also added that he was praying for the rescuers and “for those who welcomed” the migrants.

“This is a tremendous tragedy,” Crotone mayor Vincenzo Voce told RAI state television.

“United, the city will find a place for the dead in the cemetery,” said Voce.

Details about the immigrants’ nationalities were not immediately provided in the report.

It was also not clear where the boats departed from, but migrant ships arriving in Calabria usually depart from the Turkish or Egyptian coast. Many of these boats, including yachts, often reach the long, remote southern coastline of Italy without the assistance of the Coast Guard or humanitarian rescue vessels.

Another sea route used by traffickers, considered one of the deadliest for migrants, crosses the central Mediterranean from the Libyan coast, allowing migrants to board inflatable boats and dilapidated wooden fishing boats. They often endure harsh conditions of detention for several months until they become prisoners.

Most migrants leaving Libya, fleeing poverty from sub-Saharan Africa and Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, rather than war or persecution, risk having their asylum applications denied by Italian authorities.

Another frequent route by trafficker ships starts off the Tunisian coast, and many of those ships arrive at the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy, or on beaches in Sardinia, often without the need for rescue.

The Meloni government has focused on complicating efforts by multiple rescue humanitarian vessels in the central Mediterranean, allocating disembarkation ports along the northern Italian coast to ensure that rescued people, often After loading hundreds of migrants onto the ship, it needs more time to return to sea. , landed safely.

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