World News

Aid worker says dozens saved from Italian shipwreck

Legend, Twenty-six children are among those missing, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said.

  • Author, George Wright and Lipika Pelham
  • Role, BBC News, London

The captain of a humanitarian ship has described the moment his crew used axes and hammers to rescue migrants trapped in the hold of a sinking wooden boat off the coast of Italy.

Ingo Veert, captain of a RESQSHIP humanitarian ship, told the BBC’s Today program that his crew first rescued 50 migrants trapped on the deck of the stricken boat near the island of Lampedusa, before making their way out way across the ship to rescue two men trapped below deck. .

He said 10 other men were found dead below deck of the ship.

Aid workers said another 64 people were still missing at sea, after another ship sank near the Italian region of Calabria.

The second wreck occurred approximately 125 miles from the Italian coast. One of the 12 survivors died after disembarking, the country’s coast guard said.

Survivors of the shipwreck near Lampedusa were handed over to the Italian coast guard and disembarked on Monday morning, while the deceased were towed to the island, according to RESQSHIP.

The boats were carrying migrants from Libya and Turkey, UN agencies said. The Ansa news agency reported that they paid around $3,500 (£2,759) each for the trip.

Mr Veert, who commands the rescue ship Nadir, said it was around 1:30 a.m. local time that the first reports of a “completely overloaded migrant boat” came on the radio.

He said that when the rescue boat reached the ship at around 3am it “was almost sinking with water coming in and people were completely on edge”.

The captain said his crew gave survivors life jackets and used an ax and hammer to help rescue two people from the wreckage. Rescuers found one survivor “almost not breathing” with a body temperature of 32°C.

“We opened the bridge and made a big hole to get him out because he was stuck with a group of other (dead) people… He was still alive,” Mr Veert told the BBC.

“All of them are very young men between 18 and 25 years old,” he added.

The boat had departed from Libya and was carrying migrants from Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration said in a joint statement ( IOM) and the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF.

In the disaster near Calabria, aid agencies said a number of children were among those missing.

MSF’s Shakilla Mohammadi said she had heard from survivors that 66 people were missing, including at least 26 children, some as young as a few months old.

“Entire families from Afghanistan are presumed dead. They left Turkey eight days ago and were taking on water for three or four days. They told us they had no life jackets and that some ships did not stop to help them,” she said in a statement. statement.

The Mediterranean is the deadliest known migration route in the world.

More than 23,500 migrants have died or disappeared in its waters since 2014, according to UN data.

News Source :
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