The dead were believed to be mostly sub-Saharan Africans, including at least 7 children
(ROME) — As many as 40 would-be refugees, including at least seven children, have died while trying to reach Italy from Libya in the latest Mediterranean migrant tragedy, Save the Children reported Thursday.
The aid group said some of the 80 survivors of the crossing who were brought ashore Thursday in Augusta, Sicily, reported the deaths that occurred the previous day when the dinghy they were travelling on took in water.
Eventually, a cargo vessel spotted them and alerted search and rescue authorities and the German navy, taking part in the EU’s Mediterranean rescue mission, came to their aid and brought them to shore.
The dead were believed to be mostly sub-Saharan Africans from Senegal, Mali and Benin and included at least seven children, the group reported in a statement.
So far this year, more than 80,000 migrants have come ashore in Italy, with a similar number arriving in Greece.
In the deadliest crossing, some 800 migrants were believed to have drowned in April when their boat capsized off Libya with hundreds of people trapped in the hold by smugglers; a few days before that tragedy another 400 people drowned.