Libya Migrant Shipwreck: Death Toll Near Italy Reaches 17, 200 Rescued

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa
May 14, 2014 2:38 PM EST

Libya Migrant Shipwreck: Death Toll Near Italy Reaches 17, 200 Rescued

A migrant ship carrying at least 400 people sank 100 nautical miles south of the island of Lampedusa, in Southern Italy. At least 17 people died while 200 have been rescued, according to the Italian Navy.


"There were 207 survivors rescued yesterday... Seventeen bodies have been recovered so far," the navy said in a statement. Monday's death toll record was placed at 14 victims.


It added medical workers aboard warships Sirio and the Grecale continue to provide assistance to the 200 survivors.


Three coast guard and border patrol boats, two merchant ships, two helicopters and two planes had also taken part in the rescue.


"They reached the capsized ship as quickly as possible," the navy said.


Many of the survivors had been diagnosed with hypothermia and dehydration, according to medical personnel from the Order of Malta humanitarian group. Mauro Casinghini, the group's Italian head, noted many of the survivors are women and children from sub-Saharan Africa.


Prime Minister Matteo Renzi blasted the European Union for its lack of action to send support in rescuing and hosting the migrants. "Europe can't work just to save countries and banks and then abandon women and children to death," Mr Renzi said.


Hundreds of migrants arrive in Italy every day. Most of these asylum-seekers come from Eritrea, Somalia and Syria.


Colonel Ayub Kassem, Libyan naval spokesman, said the country was not involved in the rescue because it "does not have the means to help with this shipwreck."


"Many deaths near Libya have been registered and our vessels have gone there to recover the dead and help the living. Europe is not helping us. It should take responsibility for taking in the survivors," Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said.


Southern Italy, particularly the tiny island of Lampedusa is a frequent destination for refugees seeking to enter European Union countries from Africa, according to CNN.


Lampedusa is the closest Italian island to Africa.





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