Migrant boat carrying 250 sinks off Sicily, deaths reported

shipwreck, Sicily, Italy, migrant workers
Images taken from a AB412 helicopter with the Second Regiment SIRIO of the Italian Army show Italian Navy ships and the Coast Guard units taking part in a search and rescue operation near the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa for a previous wreck.
Credit: Getty Images

A boat carrying around 250 migrants capsized between Sicily and Tunisia on Friday, leaving hundreds in the sea and some dead, the Italian navy said.

The incident came just over a week after at least 319 people drowned when a boat carrying Eritrean and Somali migrants sank near the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

“There are at least 200 people in the sea and our helicopters are picking them up,” said a navy spokesman, adding that two navy ships were assisting and dozens of survivors were being taken to Lampedusa on one of the vessels.

Maltese authorities were co-ordinating the rescue operation, which was in international waters but in a Maltese rescue zone, and a Maltese ship was on the scene, a Maltese navy spokesman said.

The boat sank only around 60 miles off Lampedusa and survivors were being taken there, he added.

The boat was seen to be in difficulty by a Maltese military plane at around 1400 GMT, which dropped a liferaft, the Maltese navy said in a statement.

Last week’s disaster was one of the worst in a long migrant crisis that has seen tens of thousands of people arrive in flimsy, overcrowded boats in southern Italy, and some vessels wrecked. Lampedusa, a tiny island midway between Sicily and Tunisia, has borne the brunt.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 32,000 have arrived in southern Italy and Malta this year alone, around two thirds of whom have filed requests for asylum.

Earlier on Friday at least 500 more migrants in at least three separate boats arrived or were rescued on the way to different parts of Sicily.

Most migrants come from sub-Saharan Africa, but this year many are fleeing the Syrian civil war or political turmoil in Egypt and other parts of North Africa. Many are drawn by hopes of finding work in Europe and often do not stay in Italy.

(Additional reporting by Antonella Cinelli, Chris Scicluna and Philip Pullella; writing by Gavin Jones; editing by Andrew Roche)


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.