Sinking off Lampedusa- more than 50 missing
Initial reports state that all those aboard the boat which sank on the night of the 6th September were of Tunisian origin. News coming from Lampedusa states that this morning at around 10am, 2 boys and a girl who survived the sinking were still being kept at the medical centre in Lampedusa for further tests. However, it was not necessary for any of the 56 survivors to be admitted to hospital.
One of them, Ahmed, spoke to a volunteer of the French association Migreurop. He said the boat which they were travelling on had begun to take on water and had then capsized whilst attempting to offload the water. Ahmed had managed to swim to the island of Lampione (approximately 6 miles from Lampedusa) where he was rescued at about 8pm by the Lampedusa’s Health Service helicopter. He spent a couple of hours in the island’s medical centre and was then transferred to the CSPA (First Reception Centre) at Contrada Imbriacola.
The number of passengers actually aboard the boat remains unclear. Ahmed spoke of around 80 which included 2 women, one of whom was pregnant, and a child. Other migrants who have spoken to the police instead give reports of up to 100 or 150.
Search and rescue operations are still in progress. Underwater divers and several Lampedusan fishermen are also helping the search.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Agrigento has opened an inquiry into the situation. As no traces of the sunken boat have been found, it is suspected that the migrants may have been thrown into the sea near the island of Lampione whilst those sailing the boat made their getaway.
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