A boat carrying migrants capsized in choppy waters near southern Italy, killing at least 59 people, including 12 children, and leaving dozens more missing.
The ship disintegrated when it attempted to touch down close to the Calabrian seaside town of Crotone. At least 150 passengers, according to the survivors.
The president of Italy claimed that many of them were escaping trying circumstances.
As many as 30 individuals may still be missing, according to Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, who inspected the area.
According to the Italian Ansa news agency, an infant who was just a few months old was among the victims.
At a nearby coastal resort, bodies were found on the beach.
80 individuals had been discovered alive, according to the coast guard, “some of whom had made it to the land after the sinking.”
Although rescuers told the AFP news agency that the boat had been carrying “more than 200 people,” it is unclear exactly how many passengers were on board when it broke apart. This would leave more than 60 people missing.
Passengers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Iran were on board the boat when it departed Turkey a few days ago.
Every year, a sizable number of Africans go to Italy to escape war or poverty.
At least 73 migrants were lost during a shipwreck in Libya.
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A significant search and rescue effort was launched both on land and at sea when it was claimed that the ferry sank after colliding with rocks in bad weather.
On camera, portions of the hull and timber from the debris that had been smashed into bits were seen washing up on the beach.
Red Cross employees are spotted tending to survivors as they are seen huddled beneath blankets. Some people were taken to the hospital.
According to Cruto’s mayor, Antonio Ceraso, “there have been landings, but never a tragedy like this.” One survivor was detained on suspicion of trafficking in migrants, according to customs police.
Giorgia Meloni, the prime minister of Italy, who was elected last year in part on a promise to stop the influx of immigrants entering her country, expressed “great grief” and attributed the deaths to traffickers.
She stated in a statement that “it is terrible to swap the lives of men, women, and children for the price of the ‘ticket’ they purchased in the false perspective of a safe travel.
The government is devoted to stopping departures and the subsequent unfolding of these tragedies, and it will keep doing so.
In the last few days, a strict new law tightening the restrictions on rescues was passed by Ms. Meloni’s right-wing government, which has sworn to prevent migrants from reaching Italy’s beaches.
Former Italian finance minister Carlo Calenda stated that while “illegal immigration routes must be stopped,” those in distress at sea should be saved “at any cost.”
The incident left European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen “very upset,” with the remark that “the loss of life of innocent migrants is a tragedy.” In order to address the issues surrounding migration to Europe, she stated it was critical to “redouble our efforts” in order to go forward with revising EU asylum procedures.
Pope Francis, who frequently stands up for immigrant rights, has stated that he is praying for the deceased, the missing, and those who have survived.
Around 20,000 people have perished or gone missing at sea in the central Mediterranean since 2014, claim monitoring organizations.
In order to assist individuals in need, Regina Catrambone, head of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, which conducts search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, told the BBC that European nations must cooperate.
She also demanded that the “myopic view” that states that nations that are geographically closer to Africa and the Middle East should take the lead in addressing the issue be abandoned.
She urged countries to work together to strengthen search and rescue operations and create safe and legal routes, saying “Yet there is no co-operation among the European states to actively coordinate together to go and help the people in need.”