MILAN (AP) — The bodies of eight migrants have been recovered by Italy’s coast guard during an operation overnight that also rescued 42 survivors in the central Mediterranean off the island of Lampedusa, authorities said Friday.
Survivors reported that another two people died during the crossing, a newborn and a man who fell into the sea during the voyage, the coast guard said in a statement.
Video of the rescue shows the survivors packed in a small open fishing boat, which was adrift because the motor was apparently broken. Rescuers warned them to sit down and not move before throwing a line to pull them to safety.
All on board were soaking wet, cold and dehydrated, according to Italian news agency ANSA. The deceased were believed to have perished from hypothermia. Survivors said they had departed the Tunisian port of Sfax before dawn on Saturday, ANSA reported.
Maltese authorities requested that Italy respond to the boat in distress within the small island nation’s search-and-rescue area, near the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, the coast guard said.
Charity boats operating in the deadly central Mediterranean have complained that a new Italian policy forcing them to port after each rescue will endanger the lives of migrants departing from North Africa.
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