West News Wire: Authorities said that more than 30 bodies had been found after a wooden migrant boat broke apart in strong waves off the southern coast of Italy’s mainland on Sunday.
According to the local prefect’s office, which was mentioned by state television, 33 bodies had been found by late morning, and 58 people had been saved. According to the Italian news agency AGI, an infant who was only a few months old was among the bodies.
The boat was carrying more than 100 migrants when it ran into problems before daybreak in the Ionian Sea, according to unnamed port authorities in the seaside town of Crotone in Calabria, the tip of the Italian peninsula. Later, the Italian news agency Lapresse cited unnamed officials among rescue forces as saying there could have been as many as 180 people aboard.
State TV said some 27 of the survivors made it to shore, apparently on their own.
Wooden pieces of wreckage littered the beach at Steccato di Cutro, near the point where the boat apparently broke apart.
Firefighters, including rescue divers, had recovered 28 bodies, including three pulled by a strong current far away from the wreckage.
“It’s an enormous tragedy,” Crotone Mayor Vincenzo Voce told RAI state TV.
“In solidarity, the city will find places in the cemetery” for the dead, Voce said.
Details about the nationalities of the migrants were not immediately provided in the reports.
It was not immediately clear where the boat had set out from, but migrant vessels arriving in Calabria usually depart from Turkish or Egyptian shores. Many of these boats, including sailboats, often reach remote stretches of Italy’s long southern coastline unaided by the coast guard or humanitarian rescue vessels.