The Malta Independent 12 July 2024, Friday
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64 people missing and many rescued from 2 shipwrecks off Italy; at least 11 have died

Associated Press Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 06:15 Last update: about 24 days ago

Sixty-four people were missing in the Mediterranean Sea and several were rescued after their ship wrecked off Italy's southern coast Monday, United Nations' agencies said in a statement.

In a separate shipwreck, rescue workers evacuated dozens of suspected migrants but found 10 bodies trapped below the deck of a wooden boat off Italy’s tiny Lampedusa island, the German aid group Resqship wrote on Monday on the X social media platform.

The boat that wrecked about 200 kilometers (125 miles) off Calabria had set off from Turkey eight days earlier, but caught fire and overturned, the U.N. agencies said, citing survivors.

The search-and-rescue operation started following a mayday call by a French boat, the Italian coast guard said in a statement. The boat was sailing in a border area where Greece and Italy carry out search-and-rescue operations. The survivors and people still missing at sea came from Iran, Syria and Iraq, the U.N. agencies said.

The Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center immediately diverted two merchant vessels sailing nearby to the scene of the rescue. Assets from the European border and coast guard agency Frontex also helped.

The survivors were brought to the Calabrian port of Roccella Jonica, where they were disembarked and entrusted to the care of medical personnel. One of the 11 rescued migrants died soon after, the coast guard said.

In the second shipwreck, the crew aboard Resqship’s boat, the Nadir, found 61 people on the wooden boat, which was full of water.

"Our crew was able to evacuate 51 people, two of whom were unconscious,” it added. “The 10 dead were in the flooded lower deck of the boat.”

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