45 migrants killed in boat accident off Italy’s southern coast

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Covered bodies in Steccato di Cutro
NOS NewsAmended

The bodies of 45 shipwrecked migrants have washed ashore in the far south of Italy, the coastguard says. Several children are among the dead. A baby of a few months old also died, public broadcaster RAI reports.

The boat left Izmir in Turkey three or four days ago. The ship would have been overloaded and would not have been able to withstand the rough seas. It broke in two, presumably near the beach.

According to the Coast Guard, there were about 120 people on board when the accident happened early this morning, but those on board say there were 140 to 150. 81 people survived, 22 were taken to hospital.

Some people on board reached the coast on their own, reports the RAI. The migrants came from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Pictures show how they are collected. There is nothing left of their ship:

First images of shipwreck and migrants received in Italy

The bodies have washed up on the beach at Steccato di Cutro, a coastal town near the town of Crotone. Police and emergency services are on site. Patrol boats and a Coast Guard helicopter assist in the rescue effort.

Italian Prime Minister Meloni said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by “the many lives that have been ended by people smugglers”. She wants to work with her government to prevent deadly boat trips, including by demanding “full cooperation” from the countries where the migrants come from and from which the boats departed.

Mayor Ceraso of Cutro speaks of an unprecedented tragedy for his municipality. “The sea just keeps returning bodies. That’s something you never want to see.” Pope Francis said in his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square that he prayed for all those affected.

Rescue workers on the beach

In the past, migrants have often washed ashore in the south of Italy trying to reach Europe via the so-called Mediterranean route. Nearly 26,000 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The Italian island of Lampedusa is usually the first destination of many migrants who often cross from Libya and Tunisia. At the beginning of this month, ten more bodies of migrants were taken from a fishing boat.

Survivors of the disaster are being cared for by the Italian Red Cross
  • Dozens of migrants missing after shipwreck off Libyan coast
  • Ten migrants, including baby, dead off Italian island of Lampedusa
  • Abroad

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