Shipwreck off Italy leaves 62 dead, dozens missing

A migrant ship­wreck off Italy’s south­ern coast brings the death toll to 62 as res­cuers recov­ered three more bod­ies on Mon­day, a reminder of the des­per­ate and dan­ger­ous voy­age for those head­ing to Europe. It was decid­ed to let Dozens more are believed to be missing.

A child was among the dead, and a wood­en boat was wrecked by rough seas on a reef near the Cal­abri­an coast on Sun­day. Sur­vivors report­ed that about 170 peo­ple were on board the ship that left Turkey last week, with at least 80 alive, but many more are feared dead.

Frag­ments of a 20-meter-long boat, a small child’s pink slip­pers, and a yel­low plas­tic case with a pan­da paint­ed on it were brought by immi­grants to the shores of the Steck­er­to di Cutro on Cal­abri­a’s Ion­ian coast. My belong­ings were scattered.

Only a few life jack­ets were scat­tered in the rubble.

The Unit­ed Nations and Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders said many of the vic­tims were Afghans, mem­bers of extend­ed fam­i­lies, Pak­ista­nis and Iraqis. Afghans, the sec­ond nation­als to apply for asy­lum in the EU last year, are increas­ing­ly flee­ing the wors­en­ing secu­ri­ty, human­i­tar­i­an and eco­nom­ic prob­lems fol­low­ing Tal­iban rule in August 2021.

On Mon¬≠day, two Coast Guard ves¬≠sels were search¬≠ing from north to south off the coast of Ste¬≠ca¬≠to di Cutro, with heli¬≠copters fly¬≠ing over¬≠head and all-ter¬≠rain vehi¬≠cles patrolling the coast. Strong winds are whip¬≠ping up the sea, and debris from boats, gas tanks, food con¬≠tain¬≠ers, shoes, etc. is still being lift¬≠ed up.

Fire­fight­ers con­firmed the dis­cov­ery of three more bod­ies Mon­day morn­ing, but said there was lit­tle chance of find­ing any survivors.

‚ÄúIt will not be pos¬≠si¬≠ble because the sea con¬≠di¬≠tions are too severe,‚ÄĚ said Region¬≠al Fire Com¬≠man¬≠der Rober¬≠to Fasano. ‚ÄúBut we can¬≠not give up this hope.‚ÄĚ

Ital­ian broad­cast­er Sky TG24 announced that at least three peo­ple had been arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of help­ing orga­nize a trip from Izmir, Turkey.

Italy is one of the main des­ti­na­tions for migrant smug­glers, espe­cial­ly those depart­ing from the Libyan coast and Turkey. Of the 105,000 migrants who arrived on Italy’s shores last year, 15 per cent arrived from the Turk­ish route, near­ly half of them flee­ing Afghanistan, accord­ing to UN statistics.

More refugees are leav­ing Turkey, avoid­ing Greece and mak­ing the per­ilous jour­ney across the Mediter­ranean to Italy. In Greece, author­i­ties have been accused of repeat­ed­ly turn­ing migrant ships back to Turkey. With over­crowd­ed refugee camps in Greece mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to reunite with fam­i­lies in west­ern and north­ern Europe, more peo­ple are pay­ing thou­sands of euros to smug­glers to reach Italy directly.

Fire­fight­er Giuseppe Larosa said the first res­cuers to the scene were most dis­mayed by the num­ber of drown­ing chil­dren and how many bod­ies were strewn about try­ing to cling to the boat to save them­selves. said he was injured.

‚ÄúIt was a hor¬≠ri¬≠fy¬≠ing sight. There were bod¬≠ies strewn on the beach, lots of dead bod¬≠ies, lots of chil¬≠dren among them,‚ÄĚ LaRosa said on the beach Mon¬≠day morn¬≠ing. He said he had devot¬≠ed him¬≠self to the restora¬≠tion work, but was heart¬≠bro¬≠ken by the reac¬≠tion of the survivors.

‚ÄúThe most impres¬≠sive thing is their silence. The fear in their eyes and the silence. Silence,‚ÄĚ he said.

On Mon­day, May­or Cutoro declared his mourn­ing and flags on pub­lic build­ings were low­ered to half mast. A city ordi­nance calls on all res­i­dents, espe­cial­ly ele­men­tary school stu­dents, to observe a min­ute’s silence at 11 a.m.

Inte¬≠ri¬≠or Min¬≠is¬≠ter Mat¬≠teo Piante¬≠do¬≠gi, who spear¬≠heads Italy‚Äôs anti-immi¬≠grant cam¬≠paign, vis¬≠it¬≠ed the site on Sun¬≠day and met with local author¬≠i¬≠ties in Cro¬≠tone. At a press con¬≠fer¬≠ence, he argued the solu¬≠tion was to stop immi¬≠grants from trav¬≠el¬≠ing at all.

‚ÄúI won¬≠der if such cross¬≠ings can be orga¬≠nized and forced to force women and chil¬≠dren into trag¬≠i¬≠cal¬≠ly dan¬≠ger¬≠ous jour¬≠neys,‚ÄĚ he said.

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