CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Death toll in sunk boat off Italy could top 200, dozens still missing: reports

10-04-2013 08:52 BJT

ROME, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from the sinking of a migrant boat off an Italian island carrying about 500 people could well top 200, according to local media reports.

The disaster took place on Thursday off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, when a fishing boat carrying about 500 African migrants caught fire and sank.

Italian authorities have previously put the death toll at 94, including several women and four small children.

But according to the ANSA news agency, divers have found around 100 more bodies under the wreck of the boat that was carrying them from Libya.

Dozens of others are still missing and unaccounted for.

The 20-meter vessel caught fire after the migrants, mainly from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia according to media reports, set fire to a blanket after the ship started to take water in order to attract the attention of passing ships.

But the fire soon spread to the rest of the boat, and the ship capsided as migrants moved to avoid the fire.

"We decided to light a fire to get us notice. But the bridge was contaminated with oils, and in a few moments the boat was engulfed in flames," one of the migrants was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Divers were still searching for possible survivors of the deadliest accidents over recent months in the Mediterranean Sea crossing that thousands of African migrants make every year.

So far, 155 people have been rescued.

The ANSA news agency said the Italian police had detained one of the survivors - a Tunisian national suspected of being the "human trafficker."

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta described the accident as a huge tragedy. He rushed to the scene with Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

Thousands of African migrants try the hazardous Mediterranean crossing to Italy every year. A recent study found some 6,200 migrants had died in southern Italian waters since 1994.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program