Italy boat sinking: Hundreds feared dead off Lampedusa



At least 130 African migrants have died and many more are missing after a boat carrying them to Europe sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

Ninety-four bodies have been recovered and a further 40 have been discovered inside the wreck, coast guards say.

Passengers reportedly threw themselves into the sea when a fire broke out on board. More than 150 of the migrants have been rescued.

Most of those on board were from Eritrea and Somalia, said the UN.

The boat was believed to have been carrying up to 500 people at the time and some 200 of them are unaccounted for.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the ship had come from Misrata in Libya and began taking on water when its motor stopped working.

It is thought that some of those on board set fire to a piece of material to try to attract the attention of passing ships, only to have the fire spread to the rest of the boat.

Simona Moscarelli, a spokeswoman from the International Organization for Migration in Rome, told the BBC that in order to escape the fire, “the migrants moved, all of them, to one side of the boat which capsized”.

She estimated that only three of about 100 women on board survived, adding that most of the migrants were unable to swim.

“Only the strongest survived,” she said.

It is one of the worst such disasters to occur off the Italian coast in recent years; Prime Minister Enrico Letta tweeted that it was “an immense tragedy”. The government has declared a day of national mourning on Friday.

"There is no miraculous solution to the migrant exodus issue," said Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino. “If there were we would have found it and put it into action.”
Pope Francis sent a Twitter message calling for prayers for the “victims of the tragic shipwreck off Lampedusa”. In July he visited the island and condemned the “global indifference” to the plight of migrants trying to arrive there.


One word: tragedy. Are the world authorities really doing the required effort to prevent this situations from happening more in the future?

How come there are many international naval vessels now preventing Somali piracy, but it seems that these immigrants are left to their own lucky? I think the effort is disproportional .


How sad. :frowning: May they rest in peace.


What a terrible tragedy. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace and perpetual light shine upon them. May the God of all Comfort be with grieving family and friends and I offer prayers of thanksgiving for those that lived, that they may live for Christ.


O my Jesus, Mercy!
Blessed Mary, Star of the Sea, please watch over and take care of all refugees who travel by sea.
Lord, have mercy on the departed, and help the survivors…


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