Eight dead, ‘many’ missing in new Med migrant drama
At least eight people died and “many” more are missing, feared dead, after the latest migrant boat dramas in the Mediterranean, Italy’s coastguard and NGOs said on Tuesday.
The coastguard said one of its boats had recovered seven bodies and another person had died on a rescue boat operated by Malta-based charity MOAS and the Red Cross. The Red Cross said survivors’ accounts suggested “many” people were unaccounted for, including the mother of a young girl who was among the traumatised survivors on MOAS’s boat, the Topaz Responder.
“There may be many missing, many dead,” Red Cross Team Coordinator Abdelfetah Mohamed said in a telephone call to colleagues that the humanitarian organisation posted on YouTube along with still images of the aftermath of the rescues. “The doctors managed to revive several people with hypothermia but it was too late for one of them,” MOAS spokeswoman Maria Teresa Sette told AFP.
The coastguard said a total of around 1,200 people had been rescued during operations overnight and on Tuesday morning to rescue people on board 11 boats. One wooden vessel was carrying 450-500 people. There were also two smaller wooden boats as well as the usual overcrowded inflatable dinghies.
The Red Cross said the survivors included migrants from Syria, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and sub-Saharan Africa. The latest victims will add to a total of 4,655 migrants confirmed to have died or disappeared in the Mediterranean so far this year, according to counts by the International Organisation for Migration and the UN refugee agency.