Up to 180 people were feared dead in the latest shipwreck of a migrant boat off the Libyan coasts, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
The United Nations (UN) migration agency released the figure after gathering testimonies from four survivors, three men, and one woman, who were rescued and brought to the port town of Trapani in Sicily on Monday evening.
“They said there were an estimated 180 people on board of a barge,” Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM spokesperson and coordination officer for the Mediterranean, told Xinhua.
“The engine broke down some five hours after setting sail from an unspecific location in Libya, and the boat started slowly to take on water and to sink, some 30 nautical miles off Libya.”
The four survivors – two Ethiopian and two Eritreans — reported that several hours passed before rescuers came to save them.
“One of the men told us he was traveling with his wife, who did not survive. He also tried desperately to save another woman, yet she also drowned after some hours in the waters,” Di Giacomo said.
All of the people on board were believed to be migrants and refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, according to the officer.
The survivors were finally saved by a French vessel operating as part of the rescue mission of the European Union (EU) border agency Frontex. On Sunday, they were transferred to a Norwegian ship of the same mission, the Siem Pilot, which brought them to southern Italy.
Source: XinhuaPrint This Post