Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Toddler dead, 8 missing after migrant boat capsizes off Italian island

A two-year-old toddler was dead, while at least eight people remained missiing and 42 others rescued after a migrant ship capsized off Italy’s Lampedusa island, local media reported.

The boat carrying over 50 migrants set off from the port city of Sfax in Tunisia, reports Xinhua news agency.

Some people on board were able to swim to shore, while others were rescued by the Coast Guard and local fishermen.

Among those missing were two little children.

The boat was carrying migrants from the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau and Mali, according to local reports.

On Monday, 11 boats carrying over 800 people landed in Lampedusa, whose accommodation centre has a capacity of little above 400.

A vessel with 576 people on board autonomously reached the waters off Lampedusa around midnight on Monday, and was brought to shore by Italy’s Coast Guard.

Migrants on board were citizens of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and according to their own account, their vessel took off from a Libyan port on Sunday night.

Lampedusa is the southernmost island of Italy, which has been a hotspot for mass arrivals of migrants over the years.

Last week, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency said that the Western African migration route to Europe has seen “the biggest rise in the number of irregular crossings, which nearly doubled so far this year to over 27,700”.

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