Twenty-eight Europe-bound migrants were found dead on a day of frantic rescues off Libya on Tuesday, including at least 22 in an overloaded wooden boat, an AFP photographer, and the Italian coastguard said. The photographer, who was able to go aboard the vessel, said it appeared that many of the dead had suffocated.
He said there were about 1,000 people on three levels. He counted 22 bodies and said there were more bodies in the hold. The Italian coastguard — which is coordinating rescue efforts in international waters north of Libya — said 28 bodies had been recovered over the course of 33 operations on Tuesday, while 4,655 migrants had been rescued. The photographer was traveling on the Astral, a ship chartered by Spanish NGO ProActiva Open Arms, which rescues migrants at sea.
Late on Tuesday, the Italian navy took over helping survivors and retrieving bodies, the photographer said. It was yet another day of drama at sea after more than 6,000 migrants, most of them Africans in packed rubber dinghies, were rescued off Libya on Monday. Nine bodies were found in those operations, including a pregnant woman. ‘Panic onboard’ With numerous rescue boats en route to Italy to unload the huge human cargo collected on Monday, the Astral was left alone to deal with the overloaded wooden boat for several hours. Read more