11 Migrants Killed, Over 60 Missing In Two Shipwrecks Off Italian Coast

Rome: At least 11 migrants were killed and 66 others remain missing after two shipwrecks occurred on Monday off the Italian coasts.

A search and rescue operation was launched by Italy’s coast guard in the Mediterranean late on Monday after two migrant boats encountered problems near the Italian coasts, Xinhua news agency reported.

A merchant ship in the area carried out the initial rescue after launching an SOS call as it discovered a wooden sailboat in distress some 120 miles (193 km) off the coast of Calabria in southern Italy.

According to Xinhua, the merchant ship rescued 12 people and assisted them until an Italian coast guard vessel arrived.

One woman died shortly after disembarkation due to severe medical conditions, according to the Coast Guard. “Searches for possible survivors of the shipwreck of the sailing boat continue,” the Coast Guard said in a statement, as quoted by Xinhua.

The Coast Guard specified that two Italian patrol boats and an ATR42 aircraft were involved in the search and rescue operation, and another patrol ship with medical teams on board would soon join them in the area.

No more survivors were found as of Monday evening. The 66 people who are feared dead include 26 minors, according to local media citing sources among medical staff, as reported by Xinhua. According to the survivors’, the sailing boat departed from Turkey last week, carrying migrants and refugee seekers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Following the incident, Italian prosecutors launched an investigation into the shipwreck. It is the latest in a long string of incidents involving economic migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.

Migrants travelling by boat through the central Mediterranean Sea face dangerous conditions and high mortality rates due to weather conditions and poor-quality vessels.

Nearly one thousand people have died or disappeared crossing the Mediterranean so far this year, and 3,155 in 2023, according to the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration.

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