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Rescued Migrants Say Ship Sank off Italy with Hundreds Aboard -NGO | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Rescued Migrants

Humanitarian workers in Italy were assured by the rescued migrants, from 2 boats in the Mediterranean this week, that they saw another vessel carrying around 400 migrants sink; Save the Children said on Saturday.

Only this week, three vessels carrying migrants are already confirmed to have sunk. Three dead infants were among more than 60 recovered bodies, noting that there are hundreds who are believed to be missing.

However, the probable sinking of a fourth vessel on Thursday had not been reported, said Giovanna Di Benedetto, spokeswoman for Save the Children in Italy.

That ship along with another fishing boat and a rubber boat left Sabratha in Libya late Wednesday night, stated some of the more than 600 survivors during interviews on Saturday. The survivors said the rubber boat had its own motor, unlike the smaller fishing boat, carrying some 400 migrants. It was towed by the larger fishing vessel, which held about 500 others.

The smaller boat gradually began to take on water and, when the captain of the larger boat ordered the tow line cut, sank with most of its passengers, the survivors told Save the Children. Those aboard the other two vessels were rescued after a lengthy period of time.

“There were many women and children on board,” the survivors said, according to Di Benedetto. “We collected testimony from several of those rescued from both (the rubber and fishing) boats. They all say they saw the same thing.”

On the orders of the court of Ragusa, police have detained a man who they suspect was the captain of the larger boat, state news agency Ansa reported. Police are interviewing witnesses of the possible tragedy, la Repubblica Web site said.

The mild weather helped a flow of migrants to take place this week between Libya and Italy, and about 700 more migrants were picked up on Saturday, the coast guard said.

Pope Francis met with children at the Vatican earlier in the day to talk about migration, urging them to welcome migrants because they “are not dangerous, but in danger.”