On Thursday, a boat transporting African migrants to Italy caught fire and capsized off the Sicilian island Lampedusa.
The accident killed over 104 people and 200 people were still missing, Vatican Radio reports.
As how Vatican Radio's news anchor Charles Collins put it, the accident was one of the deadliest accidents in recent times involving African migrants hoping to start anew in the European Union.
In an interview with Mr Collins, James Stapleton, the International Communications Coordinator at Jesuit Refugee Service, stated that such hapless accidents happen because Europe made it difficult for migrants to cross the sea to safety.
"I think the reason why people continue to take these risks is because Europe has increasingly made it more difficult. What we are doing is that we are forcing people to take increasingly dangerous routes, and what we need to do is to intervene and to put human lives first," Mr Stapleton said.
The boat which capsized carried mostly Eritreans and Somalis, Reuters reported.
The accident happened when the boat's motor stopped working and the water started coming in. The migrants decided to set a sheet on fire as a signal for rescuers. However, the burnt sheet caught fuel on the boat and sparked a larger more perilous fire.
"Once the fire started, there was concern about the boat sinking and everyone moved to one side, causing the boat to go down," Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told the press.
Mr Alfano called for the European Union to help combat the crisis.
"This is not an Italian tragedy, this is a European tragedy. Lampedusa has to be considered the frontier of Europe, not the frontier of Italy," Mr Alfano remarked.
The dead bodies being recovered off the sea were laid along the dock as rescuers continued to search for more victims.
Giusi Nicolini, mayor of Lampedusa, described the scene as "horrific, like a cemetery."
The bodies recovered include three children and two pregnant women. According to volunteer divers, there were still bodies trapped in the sunken ship in approximately 40 metres or 132 feet under water.
"They're certainly all dead. There won't be anyone alive now because when we picked them up people were already exhausted," Domenico Colapinto, a local fisherman who helped rescue 18 survivors told SkyTG24 television.
Prior to the accident, there were 13 migrants who also drowned off eastern Sicily and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano had called on the European Union to stem "a succession of massacres of innocent people."
On Friday, Italy declared a national day of mourning.
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