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Death toll at 70 from migrant shipwreck off southern Italy

March 5, 2023 at 11:05 am

The wreckage of the ship carrying the immigrants and a life buoy are seen on the beach as search and rescue operations continue to find about 20 migrants in Crotone, Italy on February 27, 2023 [Valeria Ferraro/Anadolu Agency]

The death toll rose to 70 from a shipwreck carrying migrants on a wooden boat off southern Italy, media reports said Saturday, reports Anadolu Agency.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that the body of another child was found from the shipwreck Sunday off the Calabrian town of Cutro.

“The body of a boy, apparently aged 12 or 13, was found on Botricello beach, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from where a fishing boat carrying up to around 200 asylum seekers broke up in rough seas last week,” it said.

Earlier Saturday, authorities found the body of another child of about 3 years old in waters off Cutro, it said, adding at least 16 minors died in the disaster.

At least 80 people survived the catastrophe, according to the agency.

READ: At least 43 dead, dozens missing after Italy migrant shipwreck

Police reports estimate between 27 and 47 people are missing.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is on an official visit to Abu Dhabi, dismissed reports that her government may have somehow “impeded operations that would have saved the victims;” ANSA reported Saturday.

According to the report, Meloni was considering holding her “next cabinet meeting in Cutro, the town of which the disaster took place, and to put the focus of it on migration.”

“Meloni reiterated that the Italian authorities did not get an alert from EU border agency Frontex that the fishing boat that the asylum seekers were on, and which broke up in rough waters, was in distress,” it said.

An investigation has been initiated to determine whether rescue efforts were negligently delayed, it added.