BREAKING: Hundreds of Mediterranean Migrants Feared Dead After Boat CapsizesPosted: April 19, 2015
Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea
A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel carrying “between 500 and 700 migrants” capsized at midnight local time, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.
So far 28 people have been rescued.
Earlier this week, four hundred people are feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized north of Libya.
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) April 19, 2015
Italian ships, the Maltese Navy and commercial vessels are all involved in the rescue operation in Libyan waters.
New migrants emergency – 28 rescued, many corpses found as boat with 700 capsizes
Twenty-eight migrants have been rescued but hundreds are feared dead after a boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized last night.
The incident happened in an area just off Libyan waters, 120 miles south of Lampedusa.
The emergency was declared at about midnight when the migrants are believed to have moved to one side of the boat, capsizing it, when a merchant ship approached.
The incident bears similarities to another case last week when some 400 migrants are believed to have perished. Only some 150 were rescued.
A number of bodies were washed ashore in Libya.
Mark Micallef, a journalist with the paper, told the BBC such incidents were “not at all uncommon”.
“We have seen this sort of scenario happen all over again, where a boat gets capsized right at the moment of rescue.
“This is part of the problem: merchant vessels… ill equipped to do rescues, [are] being tasked to do a job they’re not designed for,” he said.
The Italian coastguard’s spokesman said the fishing boat capsized about 130 miles (210km) off the coast of Lampedusa and 17 miles (27km) from the Libyan coast.
“At the moment, this is still a search and rescue operation, but in time it will be a search [for bodies] only,” the spokesman said.
Twenty ships and three helicopters were currently involved in the rescue, he added.