Forty migrants have reportedly died off the coast of Italy after being trapped in the hold of a boat that was attempting to cross the Mediterranean on Saturday.
According to CNN, at least 40 migrants died and another 312 had to be rescued by the Italian Navy on Saturday. Yahoo! News added that an Italian Navy helicopter had spotted the boat beginning to sink off the Libyan coast, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Those who died reportedly were found in the hold of the vessel and may have died as a result of suffocation.
An Italian Navy patrol boat was then sent to the boat, which was said to appear “overcrowded. It wasn’t until sailors boarded the boat that they truly understood the extent of the situation.
“We were faced with a very emotional scene,” Commander Massimo Tozzi told the Italian news agency AGI, describing how some bodies were floating on the water, according to Yahoo! News.
Of the 312 survivors that were found, there were at least 45 women and three children, all of whom were transferred to the Norwegian vessel Siem Pilot.
According to the Washington Examiner, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Friday that “the world finds itself facing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.” CNN stated that the International Organization for Migration (IOMC) said that more than 2,300 migrants have died making the journey from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe in 2015.
The Washington Examiner went on to detail that tens of thousands of refugees have been rescued from the Mediterranean this month alone, and that more than 101,700 migrants have entered Italy since the beginning of the year.
“‘These latest tragedies underscore the dangers faced by migrants in the Channel of Sicily, now the deadliest route for those fleeing violence, natural disasters and abject poverty,’ the migration agency said in a statement.
“‘This tragedy will not be the last if the international community does not find a solution to the crisis in Libya,’ from where most of the migrants set out, Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said.”
As of this report, there weren’t any additional details as to what actually led to the deaths of the 40 migrants found in the boat’s hold.
Stay with the Inquisitr as more information on the migrant deaths in the Mediterranean becomes available.
[Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images]