At least 64 people missing after two shipwrecks in Italian waters

ROCCELLA JONICA, ITALY – Tragedy struck off the southern coast of Italy on Monday as 64 people were reported missing following a shipwreck, while 11 survivors were brought ashore to a Calabrian town, according to United Nations agencies.

In a separate incident, rescue workers discovered 10 bodies believed to be migrants trapped beneath the deck of a wooden boat near Italy’s Lampedusa island. The German aid group Resqship reported the grim find on Monday via social media.

The first shipwreck occurred approximately 125 miles off the coast of Calabria. The boat, which had departed from Turkey eight days earlier, caught fire and capsized, according to survivors. The Italian Coast Guard initiated a search-and-rescue operation after receiving a Mayday call from a French vessel. The boat was in a border area where both Greece and Italy conduct search and rescue missions. The United Nations agencies reported that the passengers hailed from Iran, Syria, and Iraq.

Two nearby merchant vessels were immediately redirected to assist in the rescue efforts, with support from assets provided by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. The survivors were transported to the port of Roccella Jonica, where they received medical attention. Unfortunately, one of the rescued migrants succumbed to their injuries shortly after arrival.

In the second shipwreck, Resqship’s boat, the Nadir, encountered a wooden vessel taking on water. The crew managed to evacuate 51 individuals, including two who were unconscious. However, they found 10 deceased migrants in the flooded lower deck of the boat.

The incidents highlight the ongoing peril faced by migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life. The international community continues to grapple with the humanitarian crisis, as desperate individuals risk their lives on treacherous journeys.