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Italy migrant boat shipwreck: Rescuers recover three more bodies, death toll reaches 60

Newsable Asianet News logo Newsable Asianet News 2/27/2023
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Officials on Monday (February 27) recovered three more bodies, a day after a wooden sailboat carrying migrants to Europe smashed onto rocks in inclement weather off southern Italy, bringing the death toll to 62, including at least 14 children.

According to reports, many of the victims washed ashore close to where the vessel sank near Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort on the eastern coast of Calabria, while some of the bodies were recovered from still-stormy seas.

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Dozens of coffins were laid out in a sports hall in the neighbouring town of Crotone ahead of an eventual funeral, as local people left flowers and candles on metal railings outside to show their respect.

The officials said 80 people had survived the disaster, but that between 180 to 200 people were believed to have boarded the vessel when it left from Turkey, suggesting many more passengers may have perished or be missing.

The disaster has reopened a debate on migration in Europe and Italy, where the recently elected right-wing government's tough new laws for migrant rescue charities have drawn criticism from the United Nations and others.

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"It is time for silence, prayer, recollection and deep meditation. But it is also a time in which we must responsibly question ourselves about this latest tragedy," said Bishop Francesco Savino from the nearby Cassano all'Jonio, a Roman Catholic diocese in Calabria.

On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said more than two dozen Pakistanis were believed to have been among the vessel's passengers. Italian authorities said many Afghanis and some Iranians had also been aboard the boat. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have reached Italy by boat over the past decade, fleeing conflict and poverty back home.

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The central Mediterranean has seen more than 20,000 deaths and disappearances since 2014, including more than 220 this year, according to the United Nations Missing Migrants Project, making it the world's most dangerous migration route.

Late on Saturday, the boat that sank off Calabria departed from the western Turkish port of Izmir about four days ago and was spotted 74 km (46 miles) off the coast by a plane operated by European Union border agency Frontex.


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