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Migrant boat breaks up off Italy, killing nearly 60

WORLD

A wooden boat carrying migrants . Ran aground on a rocky reef before dawn Sunday off the Italian coast, authorities said. Rescuers recovered about 60 bodies and dozens more were missing in the rough waters.

Officials fear the death toll could exceed 100 as some survivors indicated . The boat was carrying as many as 200 people when it set sail from Turkey. The UN refugee and migration agency said.

At least 80 people have been found alive, including some who made it ashore after the shipwreck off . The coast of Calabria in the Ionian Sea, the Italian coast guard said. An agency motorboat rescued two people suffering from hypothermia and recovered the body of a boy.
By sundown, firefighters said 59 bodies had been found.

One person was taken into . Custody for questioning after fellow survivors indicated he was a trafficker, state TV said.

The boat collided with the reef in rough, wind-whipped seas. Three large chunks of the ship ended up on the beach near the town of Staccato di Cutro, where bright blue wooden pieces were scattered. It’s broken into pieces.

boat
Migrant boat breaks up off Italy, killing nearly 60
“All the survivors are adults,” said Red Cross volunteer Ignazio Mangioni. “Unfortunately, all the children are either missing or found dead on the beach.” A child was also reported among the dead.

Italian state TV quoted survivors as saying the boat left Turkey five days ago.

Standing next to the wreckage on the beach. A reporter from Italian state TV RAI pointed out a lifeguard bearing the word “Smirna”, a Turkish port also known as Izmir.

More than 170 migrants are estimated to have been on board the ship. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International . Organization for Migration said in a joint statement.

Among them were “children and entire families,” according to a U.N. statement. With most of the passengers coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.

Earlier, Italian Premier . Giorgia Meloni said that about 200 people had crammed into a 20-meter (66-foot) boat, citing difficulties in determining . How many passengers had embarked on the voyage.

The rescue operation involved a helicopter and police plane, as well as vessels from. The state firefighter squad, coast guard and border police. Local fishermen also joined the search.

The bodies were brought to the sports stadium in the nearby town of Crotone. A local priest said he blessed many of them while they were still lying on the beach.

Pope Francis told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square that he was praying for the dead, missing and survivors. He added that he was praying for the rescuers of the migrants “and for those who welcome them”.

“It’s a huge tragedy,” Crotone mayor Vincenzo Voce told RAI. “In solidarity, the city will find space in the cemetery” for the dead.

According to Interior Ministry statistics, in 2022, around 105,000 migrants arrived on Italian shores, 38,000 more than in 2021.

According to UN figures, arrivals from Turkish routes account for 15% of the total, with nearly half fleeing Afghanistan.

In a statement released by . The Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday, Meloni “expressed his deep sorrow for the many lives taken away by human traffickers.”

“It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men. Women and children for the ‘price’ of a ticket given . The false prospect of a safe voyage,” said Meloni, a far-right leader whose governing allies include anti-immigrants. League team.

He pledged to crack down on organized exodus by people smugglers and pressure fellow EU leaders to help.

Opposition parties have pointed to Sunday’s tragedy as evidence of the flaws in Italy’s immigration policy.

“condemning smugglers, as the centre-right is now doing, is hypocritical,” said Laura Ferrara, a lawmaker in the European Parliament for the populist 5-Star Movement.

Meloni’s government allocated a landing port on Italy’s northern coast for humanitarian boats to carry out many rescues in the central Mediterranean.

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