‘Deadly sea crossings’: 41 migrants drown in the Mediterranean
Shipwreck was latest along central Mediterranean route where 118 migrants died this year and over 17,000 since 2014.
At least 41 people drowned when their boat capsized in the Central Mediterranean on Saturday, the latest shipwreck involving migrants and refugees fleeing conflict-stricken Libya and seeking a better life in Europe.
The United Nations migration and refugee agencies, IOM and UNHCR, said in a joint statement on Wednesday that the drowned people were among at least 120 migrants on a dinghy that left Libya on February 18.
According to testimonies gathered by the UNHCR, the dinghy started taking in water after about 15 hours at sea, and eight people died before a merchant vessel came to help.
“After about 15 hours the dinghy started to take in water, and the persons on board tried in every way possible to call for help,” a joint statement by the IOM and UNHCR said.
“In those hours, six persons died after falling into the water, while two others tried to swim to a boat spotted in the distance and drowned.
“After about three hours, the vessel Vos Triton approached the dinghy to carry out a rescue but in the difficult and delicate operation many persons lost their lives.”
The vessel rescued the survivors and took them to the Sicilian port town of Porto Empedocle in Italy. The missing included three children and four women, one of whom left behind a newborn baby currently in Lampedusa.