Three bodies found near migrant shipwreck off Italy

By Thomson Reuters Jun 18, 2024 | 10:42 AM

ROME (Reuters) – Three bodies have been recovered near the site of a migrant shipwreck between Italy and Greece from which more than 60 people were reported missing, a spokesperson for the Italian coast guard said on Tuesday.

The migrants were on a sailing boat about 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of the Italian region of Calabria. Eleven survivors and the body of a woman were taken ashore on Monday, and aid groups said 64 people, including 26 children, were unaccounted for.

The coast guard said late on Monday it had deployed two patrol boats, one ship and a plane to search for the missing. It did not release further information about the three recovered bodies.

The migrants had set sail from Turkey and came from Iran, Syria and Iraq, according to a joint statement from the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF.

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity said some migrants also came from Afghanistan.

Another shipwreck was reported on Monday by German sea rescue charity RESQSHIP, which picked up 51 people from a wooden boat about 90 kilometres south of the island of Lampedusa, and found 10 corpses trapped in the lower deck of the vessel.

Survivors told aid workers they had set off from the Libyan port of Zuwarah two days earlier. They said half the passengers were from Bangladesh, with others from Pakistan, Syria and Egypt.

The two shipwrecks confirmed the central Mediterranean’s reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes. According to U.N. data, more than 23,500 migrants have died or gone missing in its waters since 2014.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, editing by Gavin Jones and Rod Nickel)