Lampedusa: Dozens rescued by Italy from migrant shipwrecks, survivors say 31 missing, others stranded on rocks

ROME: Italy’s Coast Guard rescued 57 migrants from two boats that capsized through the night time in tough seas south of a tiny Italian island and recovered two our bodies, authorities mentioned.

In a press release, the coast guard quotes survivors as saying some 30 migrants had been lacking and it recovered the physique of a boy and a girl from one of many capsized vessels.
Some 20 others had been stranded Sunday on rocks after a 3rd shipwreck.

In keeping with those that had been rescued from the shipwrecked vessels late Saturday, some 23 nautical miles (42.5 kilometers) southwest of Lampedusa, 28 folks had been lacking from one and three from the opposite.
In the meantime, 20 migrants had been clinging desperately to jagged rocks of a tall reef off Lampedusa since early Saturday after a 3rd boat crashed into the craggy outcropping west of the island’s lighthouse. Robust winds and highly effective waves made any Coast Guard rescue too harmful.
The coast guard workplace in Palermo requested the assistance of a Sicily-based Alpine and Cave Rescue group, which flew two consultants aboard an Italian air pressure helicopter. The consultants had been planning to rescue the stranded migrants utilizing the helicopter, the mountaineering group mentioned.
Earlier, Italian helicopters dropped meals and water all the way down to the migrants, Italian state TV reported.
So many have made the crossing in smugglers’ unseaworthy boats launched from Libya and Tunisia in latest days that 2,450 migrants had been at the moment housed at Lampedusa’s momentary residence, which has a capability of about 400, mentioned Ignazio Schintu, an official of the Italian Purple Cross which runs the middle. As soon as the winds slacken and the seas flip calm, Italy will resume ferrying a whole lot of them to Sicily to ease the overcrowding, he advised state TV.
The 2 boats that capsized in open seas had been believed to have set out from Sfax — a Tunisian port — on Thursday, when sea situations had been good, in response to authorities.
However since sea situations had been forecast to show dangerous on Saturday, “it is much more legal for smugglers to allow them to depart,” mentioned Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesperson from the U.N. migration company IOM.
Earlier than Saturday, a complete of 1,814 migrants had been identified to have perished whereas trying the Mediterranean crossing to Italy in boats launched from Tunisia or Libya, he mentioned.
Libyan departures was once riskier, he mentioned, however as a result of recently Tunisia-based smugglers have been utilizing notably flimsy vessels, that route is changing into more and more deadlier.
Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are setting out from Tunisia in “fragile iron vessels that after 24 hours typically break in two, and the migrants fall into the ocean,” Di Giacomo mentioned, in an audio message from Sicily.

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