41 Feared Dead in Mediterranean Shipwreck

4 survivors were rescued Wednesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 9, 2023 12:06 PM CDT
Survivors Say 41 Died in Mediterranean Shipwreck
Four migrant survivors board a commercial tanker, the Maltese-flagged Rimona, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. F   (Karolina Sobel/Sea-Watch Via AP)

Forty-one people are believed dead after a boat carrying migrants capsized off Tunisia in rough seas, the Italian Red Cross and rescue groups reported, citing four survivors who were rescued and brought to land Wednesday. The survivors reported having left Sfax, Tunisia, on a metal boat with a total of 45 people on Aug. 3. About six hours into their voyage, a huge wave overturned the vessel, RAI state television reported. The Red Cross said in a statement that the four survived using inner tubes and managed to climb onto another empty vessel nearby, evidence of the large number of boats setting out from Sfax and the rough seas that hit the area in recent days, causing several other capsizings, the AP reports.

Photos released by the Sea-Watch humanitarian rescue group taken by its monitoring aircraft showed the four survivors waving for help from the boat and making their way to a commercial tanker, the Maltese-flagged Rimona. The rescued migrants were then transferred onto an Italian coast guard vessel which brought them to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday, said Sea-Watch's Paul Wagner. European Union border agency Frontex said that it had spotted a boat adrift in the Libyan search and rescue region and "informed all national rescue coordination centers in the region." Sea-Watch flew to the location, spotted the vessel and informed the closest merchant vessel, which was the Rimona, Wagner said.

According to the GPS location shared by Sea-Watch, the survivors were spotted inside the Libyan search and rescue zone around 40 miles from Tunisia and about 125 miles from Lampedusa. The International Organization of Migration said that the shipwreck brings to more than 1,800 the number of people dead and missing in the central Mediterranean this year, the most active and dangerous migration route in the world. Rough seas over the weekend resulted in a series of shipwrecks and dramatic rescue attempts to save survivors. Italian authorities rescued dozens of migrants from the sea and from rocky reefs off Lampedusa, but at least 30 people were reported missing by survivors from other capsized vessels

(More Mediterranean Sea stories.)

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