Some 400 illegal migrants may have drowned when their boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Sunday, according to survivors who were rescued and brought to Italy. Those rescued claimed the vessel was carrying between 500 and 550 people trying to make their way to Europe when it sank. Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration, said between 144 and 150 survivors arrived on Tuesday at Reggio Calabria in southern Italy after being picked up by the Italian coastguard. “We are continuing to investigate in order to understand how the shipwreck happened,” he said.
There were 400 victims in this shipwreck, which occurred 24 hours after (their vessel) left the Libyan coast. There were several young males, probably minors, among the victims.
Charity Save the Children in a statement, citing survivors.
There has been a suggestion the boat may have capsized after passengers began moving around when they saw the Italian rescue team approach. The Italian coastguard says it has recovered nine bodies. Speaking to Sky News, Save the Children spokeswoman Carlotta Bellini said: “The situation in Libya is really bad. Many migrants, including many children, have been victims of violence and many of them have reached Italy over the past few days.” The nationalities of the victims have not been confirmed but it is thought they are all sub-Saharan Africans who were living in Libya and that they paid smugglers to get on the boat in the early hours of Sunday.