Death Toll in Lampedusa Ship Tragedy Hits 250

World | October 8, 2013, Tuesday // 17:52|  views

Italian military personnel disembark from a boat carrying the bodies of African migrants killed in a shipwreck off the Italian coast lie in Lampedusa harbour, Lampedusa, Italy, on 07 October 2013. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Italian divers have recovered eighteen more bodies from a boat carrying African migrants that sank near Italy’s Lampedusa last week, taking the death toll up to 250.

Coast guard commander Filippo Marini said the search would continue as long as the weather allows.

Just 155 migrants, most if not all from Eritrea, survived last Thursday's shipwreck.

A boat packed with around 500 Eritrean and Somali migrants capsized and sank near Lampedusa on Thursday after its captain set fire to a T-shirt to signal distress to coast guards, sparking panic on board.

Lampedusa, not far from Sicily and the closest Italian island to Africa, has become a destination for tens of thousands of refugees seeking to enter European Union countries.

As recovery teams continue to fill trucks with the bodies they're still pulling from the sea, there is harsh criticism that the Italian coast guard was too slow to respond.

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Tags: refugees, Italy, tragedy, boat, Lampedusa, European Union, Italian


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