Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Survivors tell police in Sicily some 200 migrants were kept inside capsized

It is feared up to 200 migrants may have drowned after an overcrowded boat they were on capsized in the Mediterranean.

Psychologists, cultural mediators, volunteers and members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) do what they can to comfort the 367 survivors brought to Sicily by the Irish patrol boat which rescued them after Wednesday’s disaster.

If it is determined that hundreds were crammed in the hold of the iron fishing boat that overturned Wednesday, there is a real risk that numerous migrants died trapped inside, said Flavio Di Giacomo of the global Organization for Migration, a human rights group.

“The arrested are suspected of causing the confirmed deaths of 26 migrants and the presumed deaths of about 200 people who, according to witnesses, were locked in the hold of the boat that capsized”, a police statement said.

LE Niamh is heading toward the Sicilian port of Palermo, where it will arrive on Thursday afternoon with most of the survivors.

Military vessels and aircraft from a multi-nation operation are searching waters off Libya for a second day for any more survivors from an overturned boat crowded with migrants. “There have been some our bodies floating, so it was fairly a surprising scene”.

Some migrants who fell into the water had life vests; others, struggling to swim, were tossed life vests by rescuers.

“It was very upsetting to see a mother and father grieving for their young child, and our personnel tried to resuscitate him but unfortunately there was nothing they could do”, he said at the portside.

“And I dived under, ready to die to save my daughter”, he said, describing how he managed to rescue her – “I don’t know how” – and pull his wife to a lifeboat as well. What they found when they got there was unfortunately they had arrived too late, many people were in the water.

All the nationalities of the survivors weren’t instantly out there.

Di Giacomo said the estimate of 600 aboard was credible because the boat was 20-25 meters (70-85 feet) long, and smugglers, who don’t like to leave any space unused, usually fit about 600 aboard a fishing boat of that size.

Efforts to recover bodies from a horrific capsizing on April 18 off Libya, also when rescuers approached, are still being conducted, the Italian navy said. A number of Syrians were among those rescued.

Tuesday 11 August 2015



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