At least 59 dead, including 12 children, as migrant ship wrecks in southern Italy


STICKERTO DI CUTRO, Italy (Reuters) – At least 59 people, including 12 children, were killed when a wooden sailing boat carrying European migrants crashed into a rock near the southern Italian coast in the early hours of Wednesday morning. people died.

The ship, which had sailed from Turkey and was carrying people from Afghanistan, Iran and several other countries, was in rough sea conditions near the seaside resort of Stictarto di Cutro on the east coast of Calabria. sunk.

The incident has reopened debates about immigration in Europe and Italy. tough new law Migrant relief charities have faced criticism from the United Nations and others.

The provisional death toll reached 59 by Sunday afternoon, but was expected to rise further, Interior Secretary Wanda Ferro told reporters.

State government official Manuela Cura told Reuters news agency that 81 people survived the wreck. Twenty people were taken to hospital, including one in the intensive care unit.

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Survivors said about 140 to 150 people were on board when emergency services searched the sea and coastline in stormy weather, suggesting some are missing. .

Italian police said the boat had set sail from the port of Izmir in western Turkey about four days ago and was spotted about 74 kilometers from the coast late Saturday by a plane operated by Frontex, the European Union’s border agency.

A patrol boat was mobilized to stop it, but bad weather forced it to return to port, police said, adding that authorities had since mobilized a search party along the coastline.

A baby just a few months old was among the migrants first spotted washing up on a beach, according to ANSA news agency.

Emergency doctor Laura De Paoli described finding another dead child, aged seven.

“When we got to the sinking point, we saw bodies floating all over the place, so we rescued two men who were carrying children. Sadly, the little one was dead,” she said. told to

Cutoro Mayor Antonio Ceraso told the Sky TG24 news channel, his voice trembling with emotion, saying, “A sight you never want to see in your life… a terrifying sight… it’s all in your mind.” “Stay. Life”.

The remains of wooden galettes, Turkish sailing ships, were scattered over large stretches of the coast.

According to the Guardia di Finanza Customs Police, one survivor was arrested on charges of migrant trafficking.

False Perspectives on Safety

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has expressed deep sorrow at the death, denouncing human traffickers who profit while providing migrants with “a false prospect of safe travel”.

“The government is committed to preventing the departure and the consequent development of these tragedies, and will continue to do so, first and foremost, by seeking maximum cooperation from the country of departure and the country of origin.” she said.

The Meloni administration says migrant relief charities encourage immigrants to make dangerous voyages to Italy, sometimes working with traffickers.

The charity strongly denies both accusations.

“Stopping, hindering or impeding the work of NGOs[non-governmental organizations]has only one effect: vulnerable people are left unaided and die,” said Spain. migrant rescue charity Open Arms tweeted in response to Sunday’s shipwreck.

However, the coast off Calabria is not regularly patrolled by NGO vessels operating in waters south of Sicily. This suggests they are unlikely to intercept shipwrecked migrants regardless of Meloni’s crackdown.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, head of Italy’s Catholic Church, called for the resumption of the EU’s search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean as part of a “structural, communal and humanitarian response” to the migrant crisis.

A spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) likewise took to Twitter to call for increased rescue efforts in the Mediterranean.

Flavio di Giacomo also called for the opening of “more regular immigration routes” to Europe and actions to address what he described as multiple causes driving people to try to cross the ocean. asked for

Pope Francis, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina and a longtime advocate for the rights of immigrants, said Sunday he was praying for the shipwreck victims.

Italy is one of the major countries landing point For migrants trying to enter Europe by sea, but to do so, they must brave the world’s most dangerous migration routes.

united nations Missing Immigrant Project Over 17,000 registered death and disappearance More than 220 people are estimated to be dead or missing in the central Mediterranean since 2014.

Reporting from Rome Alvise Armellini, Giselda Vagnoni, Angelo Amante, Crispian Balmer Written by Alvise Armellini Edited by Tomasz Janowski, Crispian Balmer, Barbara Lewis, Frances Kerry

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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