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Dozens Killed in Yet Another Migrants Boat Disaster

Posted by feww on October 3, 2013

Migrants Boat Capsizes Near Lampedusa, Italy, Killing Dozens

A boat carrying hundreds of immigrants capsized near the Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, killing at least 96 people.

There were at least 450 people on board when the boat capsized, Ansa news agency reported. Italy’s Coast Guard has reportedly rescued about 147 people so far.

“Of the estimated 500 passengers on the boat, believed to be Eritreans, only 147 have been rescued so far. The boat, which originated from Libya, caught fire half a mile from the coast.” UNHCR  reported.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has described the incident as an “enormous tragedy.”

lampedusa disaster
Thursday’s disaster occurred when a boat similar to the one above caught fire as it headed toward Lampedusa Island, south of Sicily. Source: UNHCR

Today’s incident was the second migrants boat disaster this week off Italy’s coast. Thirteen people drowned off the southern coast of Italy on Monday after they attempted to swim ashore from a foundering vessel, said UNHCR.

In July seven immigrants drowned as they held on to a fishing cage that was being towed to shore.

dead refugees
13 immigrants drowned off the coast of Sicily on Monday after they attempted to swim ashore from a foundering vessel. Photo credit: Reuters.

Sicily and the surrounding islands are prime targets for desperate refugees and illegal immigrants from Libya, Tunisia, sub-Saharan Africa in search of employment and a better quality of life.

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