from Repubblica Palermo
Search parties have been operating throughout the night and continue to do so this morning in the search for any eventual survivors after a dinghy sank 35 miles from Lybia and 140 miles from Lampedusa. 70 migrants have been rescued and 10 bodies have been retrieved from the sea. The search party includes coastguard patrol boats, a navy boat complete with helicopter and an offshore tugboat.
Three bodies and the seventy survivors- 62 men and 8 women (one of whom is pregnant)- were boarded onto a second navy ship which is currently on route to Lampedusa and expected to arrive in the early afternoon. Sea conditions are reported to be good.
The rescue operation began yesterday morning after a satellite phone call was made to the Palermo Port Authorities notifying them of a dinghy overloaded with migrants which was on the verge of sinking. The Italian coastguard notified the Maltese and Lybian authorities and in the afternoon a Maltese plane was able to locate the dinghy. Shortly after, two patrol boats belonging to the Italian coastguard arrived from Lampedusa, together with a navy vessel allocated to assist in such cases.
The rescuers sighted people in the sea and others holding on to the dinghy as it was on the point of sinking. 70 survivors were rescued immediately and shortly after the bodies of three women were spotted and retrieved from the sea. The survivors were boarded onto the navy’s vessel where they received necessary first aid treatment. Many were suffering from hypothermia. The ship then set off for Lampedusa and was replaced by another navy ship that was nearby. A civilian tugboat Asso 25, arrived in the area and refuelled the coastguard’s patrol boats and then aided in the search.