Nafeza : 11 people dead and dozens missing after two shipwrecks off coast of Italy

Nafeza : 11 people dead and dozens missing after two shipwrecks off coast of Italy
Nafeza : 11 people dead and dozens missing after two shipwrecks off coast of Italy

Monday 17 June 2024 10:50 PM

newsonline - At least 11 people have died and more than 60 are missing - including 26 children - after two ships were wrecked off the coast of southern Italy.

A rescue ship run by a German aid group picked up 51 people thought to be migrants from a sinking wooden vessel in the first of two shipwrecks.

RESQSHIP said two of the 51 were unconscious and had to be "cut free with an axe".

Ten bodies were found trapped on the wooden ship's flooded lower deck near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the organisation added. No one is believed to be missing.

"Our thoughts are with their families. We are angry and sad," RESQSHIP wrote on X.

Those on board came from Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Organisation for Migration and UNICEF said in a joint statement.

The survivors were handed over to the Italian coastguard and taken ashore, RESQSHIP said.

Its own ship, the Nadir, towed the wooden boat containing the bodies of the deceased to Lampedusa.

Image: A wooden boat got into difficulty off Lampedusa and floated towards the Libyan coast. Pic: RESQSHIP

Entire families presumed dead in second wreck

The second shipwreck took place about 125 miles east of the Italian region of Calabria, after a yacht that had set off from Turkey eight days earlier caught fire and overturned, UN agencies said.

Twelve migrants, including a pregnant woman and two children, were picked up, the Italian coastguard said.

A woman among them, who is thought to have fallen into the water, died immediately after landing.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video playerMigrant shipwreck survivors taken to Italian port for medical treatment 0:23

Calabria shipwreck survivors rescued

The others are in a serious condition, Vittorio Zito, mayor of the town of Roccella, said.

Survivors reported that 66 people were missing, including 26 children, "some of them very young", Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - the Doctors Without Borders charity - told Sky News in Roccella.

Shakilla Mohammadi, an MSF staffer, added: "Entire families from Afghanistan are presumed dead."

The yacht may have been taking on water for three or four days, while those on board were not wearing life jackets, MSF also said.

Some passing vessels did not stop to help, survivors said.

Migrants involved in the shipwreck off Calabria came from Iran, Iraq and Syria, agencies added.

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A map of Italy showing the Calabria region and the islands of Sicily, Malta and Lampedusa
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A French vessel heard a mayday call in the Italian search and rescue area.

The Italian coastguard sent several units to the scene.

Two coastguard patrol boats are searching for survivors, while an aircraft has also been deployed.

EU border agency Frontex is involved in the search too.

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