World Bulletin / News Desk
At least 30 migrants including young children drowned Wednesday when they fell off an overloaded vessel in the Mediterranean, where tensions are rising between aid ships and the Libyan coast guard.
The migrants were on a wooden boat carrying between 500 and 700 people and were just 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast when the accident happened.
The crew of the Phoenix aid boat, chartered by the Maltese NGO Moas, had begun the rescue and were distributing lifejackets when many of those on deck fell into the water, perhaps knocked off balance by a wave.
"Not a scene from a horror movie... Real life tragedy unfolding on Europe's doorstep today!," said Chris Catrambone, Moas co-founder, who was aboard the Phoenix and published photos showing white body bags lined up on the deck.
"Rescuers are frantically trying to break open the locked hold on a wooden boat where hundreds of migrants are trapped!" he tweeted.
With the help of an Italian coast guard ship and several commercial ships, rescuers raced to drag as many people as possible from the water, while a military aircraft dropped life-rafts and a helicopter looked for survivors.
"Current body count at 31," Catrambone said, adding many who fell overboard had been "small toddlers".Last Mod: 24 Mayıs 2017, 15:28