EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 12, 2013

Migrant ship capsizes off Italy ; 27 dead

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — For the second time in a week, a smugglers’ boat overloaded with migrants capsized in the Canal of Sicily on Friday as it made the perilous crossing from Africa to Europe. At least 27 people drowned, but 221 people were rescued in a joint Italian-Maltese operation, officials said.

Helicopters ferried the injured to Lampedusa, the Italian island that is closer to Africa than the Italian mainland and the destination of choice for most smugglers’ boats leaving Tunisia or Libya. It was off Lampedusa that a migrant ship from Libya capsized Oct. 3 with some 500 people aboard. Only 155 survived.

Friday’s capsizing occurred 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Lampedusa, but in waters where Malta has search and rescue responsibilities.

The two shipwrecks were the latest grim reminder of the extreme risks that migrants and asylum-seekers often take in an effort to slip into Europe every year by boat. Facing unrest and persecution in Africa and the Middle East, many of the migrants think the Lampedusa escape route to Europe, which is barely 70 miles (113 kilometers) from northern Africa, is worth the risk.

“They do know that they are risking their lives, but it is a rational decision,” said Maurizio Albahari, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. “Because they know for a fact they will be facing death or persecution at home — whatever remains of their home, or assuming there is a home in the first place.”

What drives them is the hope that they’ll have a better life in Europe for themselves and their children, he said. “It’s either perish or go somewhere.”

In the latest case, the Italian coast guard said it received a satellite phone call from the boat that it was in distress and was able to locate it based on the satellite coordinates, said coast guard spokesman Marco Di Milla.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Bull Run Comes to Middle America LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Tiny Texas Border Town Weathers Migrant Influx Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' Raw: Kerry Meets With President Karzai Overseas Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' CDC Addresses Lab Safety Problems Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Law Signed to Create NYC Municipal ID Cards 7 Killed in Mass. Apartment Fire Denver Gay Couple First to Get Marriage License Baby Hoped to Have Been Cured of HIV Relapses
Latest World News
LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Raw: Wounded Rushed to Hospital in Gaza City Netherlands Beats Host Brazil 3-0 to Finish 3rd Raw: Brazil Fans Arrive for Third Place WC Match Raw: Sirens Blare Over Jerusalem Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets UN Calls for Israeli-Palestinian Ceasefire Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Rockets Fired From Lebanon Hit Israel Raw: Funeral in Gaza for Family of 8 Today in History for July 11th Raw: Palestinian Youth Clash With Israeli Police
Photos of the Week