Rome, Feb 26 (EFE).- At least 60 people have died after a boat carrying more than 200 migrants capsized off the southern Italian coast, police told Efe on Sunday.
The death toll is likely to increase because many people thought to have been traveling on the boat have not yet been rescued, according to the police.
Some 80 survivors discovered on the beach were transferred early in the morning to Cutro town in the province of Crotone to receive medical treatment.
According to the survivors, the fishing boat in which they were traveling for four days broke in half after the engine exploded in the middle of the night and sank along with many of the people onboard.
The bodies, including a newborn and at least 12 minors, were discovered after they washed ashore at Steccato di Cutro beach resort, the police confirmed.
“It is yet another Mediterranean tragedy that cannot leave anyone indifferent,” Italian president Sergio Mattarella said in a statement, as he expressed his condolences for the victims.
“It is equally essential that the European Union finally takes on the concrete responsibility of governing the migration phenomenon to remove it from the traffickers of human beings,” he added.
Prime minister Giorgia Meloni, meanwhile, said it was “criminal to put a boat of barely 20 meters to sea with 200 people onboard and a bad weather forecast.”
“The government is committed to preventing departures, and with them the unfolding of these tragedies, and will continue to do so,” she added.
As relief efforts are underway, the authorities are questioning survivors to find out the circumstances behind the accident.
According to local media, most of the boat passengers, all under the age of 30, are from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The accident comes three days after Meloni’s right-wing government approved a new law that hampers the work of migrant rescue ships.EFE