Mediterranean migrant shipwreck leaves 800 dead
The 27 survivors hailed from Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Eritrea and Bangladesh - all had been taken to holding centers
The United Nations refugee agency has confirmed 800 migrants died in a shipwreck off Libya on Sunday after speaking to survivors of the disaster.
“We can say that 800 are dead,” said Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy on Tuesday.
Representatives from the U.N. agency and the International Organization for Migration said they had interviewed the majority of 27 survivors, who described the moment the trawler carrying them capsized after a Portuguese merchant ship approached the vessel, causing a stampede.
One other survivor was taken to hospital in Catania, on Sicily’s east coast.
“There were a little over 800 people on board, including children aged between 10 and 12. There were Syrians, about 150 Eritreans, Somalians... They had left Tripoli at about 8 am on Saturday,” Sami said.
The survivors hailed from Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Eritrea and Bangladesh, she added, and all had been taken to nearby holding centers.
The Italian coastguard said separately they had recovered 24 bodies and did not confirm the death toll.
Meanwhile Italian police said a Tunisian and a Syrian man among the survivors had been arrested due to suspicions they were members of a smuggling gang thought to have organized the fatal voyage.
Distress call sent from sinking migrant boat in MediterraneanThe IOM says its Rome office has received a distress call from international waters in the Mediterranean World News
Survivor reveals how smugglers locked migrants in capsized boatA smuggler's boat crammed with hundreds of people overturned off Libya's coast as rescuers approached Features
Migrant boat tragedy slammed as ‘genocide’'Gangs of criminals are putting people on a boat ... on the road to death,' Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Middle East
At least nine dead after migrant boat sinks off LibyaRescuers managed to save 144 of the migrants and were still searching for others Africa