Kabul: Forty-three migrants died and 80 others survived after their boat sank off the Italian coastal city of Crotone in the southern region of Calabria on Sunday (February 26). Speaking to the news agency Reuters, Danilo Maida, a spokesperson for the firefighters’ service in Calabria, said that firefighters and other emergency workers were looking for more survivors at sea using jet skis, but conditions were harsh, making the search difficult. The boat had 120 migrants onboard.
“At present, a total of 80 people have been found alive – some of whom have managed to reach the shore after the shipwreck – and 43 bodies have been found along the coast,” the coast guard said in a statement. The boat was bringing migrants from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In a statement, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said, “It is a huge tragedy which shows the absolute need to act firmly against irregular migration channels.”
He added that it was essential to stop sea crossings which, offering migrants the misleading image of a better life in Europe, enriched traffickers and cause tragedies like today.
Italy has been one of the main landing points for migrants trying to enter Europe by sea, and the central Mediterranean route has been one of the most active and dangerous routes for people crossing to the continent.
Since 2014, more than 20,000 people have died or gone missing on this route, according to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project.