Rescuers find 60 body off Italy after migrant shipwreck

Steccato Di Cutro Feb. 27 (Us): Rescue teams searched by sea and air Monday for dozens of people believed still missing from a shipwreck off the southern coast of Italy and brought home again through the desperate and dangerous crossings of migrants who They seek to reach Europe. .

At least 80 people survived Sunday’s shipwreck off the coast of Calabria, but rescue crews recovered 60 bodies, including those of several children and the body of a young man Monday morning. It is feared that dozens may have died in light of survivor reports that the ship, which set off from Turkey last week, was carrying about 170 people.

The beach at Steccato di Cutro, on Calabria’s Ionian coast, was strewn with the scattered remains of a ship that broke loose in stormy seas on the reefs offshore, as well as belongings the immigrants had brought with them, including a tiny pink sneaker for a young child. and a yellow plastic pencil case decorated with a panda, the Associated Press reported.

There were only a few life jackets strewn among the wreckage.

On Monday, two coast guard vessels inspected the seas from north to south off Steccato di Cutro while a helicopter hovered overhead and a four-wheel drive vehicle patrolled the shore. Strong winds blew into the seas, which still shredded ship fragments, gas tanks, food containers and shoes. A van came to take away the body of the latest victim.

What devastated the first rescue crews to reach the site, said firefighters inspector Giuseppe LaRosa, was the number of children killed, and that the dead bodies had scratches all over them, as if they had tried to cling to the ship to save themselves.

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“It was a chilling sight. There were dead bodies on the beach, many bodies, many children,” he said on the beach on Monday morning. He said he focused on recovery efforts, but was shocked by what he found in the survivors.

“What surprised me was their silence,” he said. “Terror in their eyes, but silent. Silence.”

Interior Minister Matteo Bentedosi, who has spearheaded Italy’s crackdown on immigration, visited the scene Sunday and met with local officials in Crotone. In a press conference, he insisted that the solution lies in ending the crossing of immigrants from their country of origin.

The Italian government under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has focused on trying to stop migrant ships from leaving, while discouraging humanitarian rescue teams from operating in the Mediterranean. On Sunday, Meloni said the government was committed to this policy “above all by insisting on maximum cooperation with countries of origin and departure”.

Italy has complained bitterly for years about the reluctance of its sister European Union countries to take in migrants, many of whom aim to find a family or work in northern Europe. Italy is a major destination, especially for smuggling operations that launch boats from Libyan shores.

But Italy is also a destination for smugglers leaving from Turkey. According to United Nations figures, arrivals from the Turkish route made up 15% of the 105,000 migrants who arrived on Italian shores last year, with nearly half of them fleeing Afghanistan.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for redoubling efforts to deal with the problem.

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“The loss of innocent immigrant lives is a tragedy,” she said.

Meloni’s government has focused on complicating the efforts of humanitarian boats to carry out multiple rescue operations in the central Mediterranean by allocating them ports of disembarkation along the northern coasts of Italy. This means that ships need more time to return to sea after migrants have been brought on board and safely ashore.

Humanitarian organizations regretted that the campaign also includes an order for charity boats not to remain at sea after the first rescue operation in the hope of carrying out other rescue operations, but to head immediately to the port designated for them. Violators face stiff fines and the confiscation of rescue vessels.


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