Dozens Killed in New Migrant Shipwreck South of Sicily
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Dozens of people died when a boat carrying around 250 migrants capsized between Sicily and Tunisia, in the second such shipwreck this month, the Italian coastguard said.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that around 50 corpses had been sighted, including around 10 children, following the incident about 60 miles south of the tiny island of Lampedusa.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told a news conference in Valletta there were indications at least 27 people had died "and the number is expected to rise, possibly drastically".
At least 339 people drowned on October 3 when a boat carrying Eritrean and Somali migrants sank near Lampedusa, southwest of Sicily.
The Maltese navy said one of its ships had rescued 150 migrants from Friday's wreck and an Italian navy vessel had saved 56. The most seriously injured were being taken by helicopter to Lampedusa.
Maltese authorities were coordinating the rescue operation, which was in international waters but in a Maltese rescue zone, and a Maltese ship was on the scene, a spokesman for the island state's navy said.
Italy is asking for more European Union support and an overhaul of the bloc's immigration rules after last week's shipwreck.
Last week's disaster was one of the worst in a protracted migrant crisis in which tens of thousands of people have arrived in flimsy, overcrowded boats in southern Italy, and some vessels wrecked. Lampedusa, midway between Sicily and Tunisia, has borne the brunt.