21 Apr 2015

Migrant boat disaster: Survivors of sinking that killed 1000 reach Italy

Survivors of the weekend’s Mediterranean boat disaster have reached the Italian port of Catania, as the United Nations confirmed that at least 800 1000 people died in the sinking off the coast of Libya. An Italian coastguard ship carrying 27 survivors arrived late on Monday night, with all the migrants on board disembarking by 01.45 local time. One man was seen to leave the boat in a wheelchair.

Mediterranean boat disaster

Officials for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that some of the dead were children between the ages of 10 and 12.

Police at the port also confirmed two men who were among the survivors had been taken into custody over suspicions they were part of a smuggling gang thought to have organised the fatal voyage. Prosecutor Giovanni Salvi told reporters: “Two people are currently held in custody following the testimony of survivors: the captain, of Tunisian origins, and a Syrian male national. “The remaining 25 migrants are free. They will be identified following immediate care and are expected to request asylum.”

Salvi said the boat that sank had three levels and the doomed migrants were locked in the hull and middle deck.

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