Immigrants paid €8,000 each for the ‘Death Voyage’

Crotone, Italy – Rescuers pulled more bodies from the sea on Tuesday, bringing the death toll in Italy’s latest migrant tragedy to 65. ” From Turkey to Italy.

Authorities postponed a scheduled viewing of the coffin to allow time to confirm the body’s identity. This is because desperate relatives and friends have arrived in the Calabrian city of Crotone in hopes of finding their loved ones. Some of them are from Afghanistan.

At least 65 people, including 14 minors, were killed early Sunday when an overcrowded wooden boat slammed into shallow water 100 meters (yards) from Kutro’s shore and broke apart in rough seas early Sunday. bottom. Eighty people survived, but more are believed to have died, as survivors indicated the boat carried about 170 people when it left Izmir, Turkey, last week.

Aid groups on the ground said many of the passengers came from Afghanistan, including whole families, as well as from Pakistan, Syria and Iraq. Rescuers pulled two of his bodies from the sea on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 65 of him, police said.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has sent a letter to European leaders demanding swift action on the continent’s long-standing migration problem and saying migrants must stop risking their lives in dangerous sea crossings. claimed.

“The point is, the more people leave, the more people are at risk of dying,” she told RAI state television late Monday.

Crotone prosecutor Giuseppe Capoccia confirmed investigators had identified three suspected smugglers, one Turkish and two Pakistanis. A second Turk is believed to have escaped the wreck or died.

In a statement, Italian border police said the organizers of the crossing had charged 8,000 euros (about $8,500) each for the “death voyage.”

italian rescue team
Rescuers are searching for people believed to be missing from a shipwreck near the beach near Cutro, southern Italy, February 28, 2023. (Valeria Ferraro/AP Photo)

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi countered suggestions that rescues were delayed or affected by government policies discouraging aid groups from staying at sea to rescue migrants.

EU border agency Frontex said the aircraft spotted the boat off Crotone at 10:26 pm on Saturday and alerted Italian authorities. Italy mobilized her two patrol boats but turned back due to bad weather.

Piantedosi told a parliamentary committee that the ship ran aground and fell apart around 5 am on Sunday.

“There were no delays,” Piantedosi told Corriere della Sera. “Everything possible was done in absolutely forbidden sea conditions.”

The Italian Coast Guard issued a statement on Tuesday, saying Frontex said the migrant boat was “sailing normally” and only one person was visible on deck.

It added that an Italian border police ship “already active at sea” had set out to intercept the migrant ship.

“At approximately 4:30 a.m., the Coast Guard received some indications by telephone from subjects on land that the boat was in danger a few meters from shore,” the statement said.

At that point, a Carabinieri police boat alerted by border police “informed the Coast Guard about the wreck”.

In briefing parliamentarians, the interior minister cited figures that underpinned Italy’s long-standing grievances that European Union member states have not honored pledges to receive some of the asylum seekers who arrive in Italy.

These pledges covered about 8,000 migrant migrations between June last year and this month, Piante Dosi said, but only 387 were actually transferred to other EU member states, with Germany taking the lead. Most are accepted.