Close to 100 Migrants Dead After Boat Sinks Off Italian Coast

“Scores of Migrants Dead After Boat Sinks Off Sicily,” By Gaia Pianigiani for the New York Times:

In one of the deadliest recent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, at least 94 migrants died Thursday off the coast of Lampedusa, an island south of Sicily, when their boat sank after a fire began onboard. More than 200 of the roughly 500 people on the vessel were still missing, officials said.

The victims were mostly from Eritrea, Ghana and Somalia, the Italian authorities said. At least two children were among the dead.

Italian television showed bodies lined up on the shore in dark green and black body bags. At least 151 people have been rescued, the authorities said.

The old wooden boat reportedly sailed from Misurata, Libya. In the early morning, the vessel moved close to shore and passengers ignited a blanket to signal their presence. Panicked passengers, who moved away to avoid the flames, put too much weight on one side of the boat, which tipped over, tossing many into the sea, Coast Guard officials said. Soon afterward, the boat was engulfed in flames. It sank just half a mile from the coast…

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