Bodies of seven migrants on capsized boat found off Italy

Bodies of seven migrants on capsized boat found off Italy

PHOTO CREDIT: Times of Malta

 

Rescue authorities found the bodies of seven migrants, including five women, after their boat capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa, coastguard officials said Sunday.

A patrol boat recovered the bodies of three of the women and customs workers found two more washed ashore after a vessel with some 150 people aboard went down Saturday, the coastguard said.

Another two bodies were found Saturday on the beach at Cala Galera on the south side of the island.

Survivors had said late Saturday around 20 people were missing after coast guards reported rescuing nearly 150 migrants when their vessel overturned around 1.5 miles (1.8 kilometres) off the coast.

The coastguard said rescue operations had been complicated by rough seas “but also owing to a large number of people who fell into the water simultaneously.”

Italian media reported one Eritrean man and a Libyan man as saying they had lost their wives.

The public prosecutor in the Sicilian port of Agrigento announced an investigation had been opened into the incident.

Spanish NGO Open Arms, which Thursday rescued 73 migrants in a separate operation, meanwhile urged European governments to authorise “immediately” the migrants’ disembarkation in a safe port, citing a “critical” situation.

“We continue to demand that people’s rights, established under international conventions and maritime law, be respected,” tweeted Open Arms’ chef de mission Riccardo Gatti.