The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

‘Rogue wave’ capsized Sicilian boat, family of dead fisherman says

Sunday, 5 May 2019, 12:15 Last update: about 4 months ago

A rogue wave flipped the Sicilian fishing vessel and threw the four men into the water off Marsascala, a relative of one of the dead men told Italian media.

Two men died on Saturday after the boat they were on capsized in rough seas off Marsascala. Two others swam to shore and suffered minor injuries.


Italian media report that the dead men are Luciano Sapienza, a Sicilian, and Toumi Zakaria, aged 29, from Morocco.

Luciano’s son Fabio, aged 38, made it safely to shore together with a Tunisian member of crew, Italian media report. The Malta police had initially said that the four men involved were all Italians.

Speaking to Rai, Fabio Sapienza’s mother-in-law Silvana Scollo said that her daughter had flown over to Malta to assist her husband.

“My son-in-law is destroyed. My daughter immediately left for Malta and was accompanied to the embassy. She is now with her husband who was discharged from hospital. They (the four men) were on their way back and did not see the rogue wave,” she said.

The Malta police said that the boat capsized at 4am, when it was still very dark, and at the time Malta was experiencing strong winds and rough seas.

Rai News reports that when the boat capsized an automatic satellite signal was sent from the vessel to the Italian Coast Guard, which immediately alerted Maltese authorities.

An AFM patrol boat was immediately sent to the area. The Moroccan man was taken to hospital but succumbed to the injuries while two of the other fishermen swam to shore. Searches were conducted by the AFM for the fourth missing man, whose body was found late in the day at Pembroke.

The boat, named Zaira, was registered in Syracuse and left Sicily last Wednesday.

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