Speed Reads

Tragedy in Italy

Shipwreck off Italian coast kills at least 50 migrants

At least 50 people died Sunday when a wooden boat carrying migrants wrecked off the coast of southern Italy, officials said. 

The boat, which had set sail from Turkey several days ago, was carrying migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries. According to the Italian news agency Adnkronosthe ship sank after it crashed "against the rocks due to the rough sea" near a resort town in the Calabria region. 

Local government official Manuela Curra told Reuters that the boat was overcrowded, with an estimated 140 to 150 people on board. Bodies reportedly washed up on the beach as rescue efforts got underway, per Reuters. The dead included numerous children, as well as at least one baby. 

While the complete statistics are not yet available, Italian Red Cross official Ignazio Mangione told Italian news station Sky TG24 that very few of the children onboard were believed to have survived. 

Despite the high death toll, at least 80 people are believed to have survived, BBC News reported, with rescue efforts likely to continue finding survivors as the day goes on. Local television footage showed survivors huddling under blankets, with many of them being taken to the hospital. 

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni — who BBC noted was elected "partly on a pledge to stem the flow of migrants into Italy" — said in a statement she had "deep sorrow for the many lives cut short by human traffickers."

"It is inhumane to trade the lives of men, women, and children for the price of the 'ticket' they have paid with the false prospect of a safe journey," Meloni added, saying that her government was "committed to preventing departures, and with them the unfolding of these tragedies, and will continue to do so."