October 12, 2013
Death Toll Rises from Migrant Accidents Near Italian Island
Divers have found an additional 20 bodies from last week's shipwreck near the Italian island of Lampedusa, raising the death toll to 359.
Officials say rescuers found the additional bodies on Saturday as a recovery effort continued at the site of the sunken ship, which was packed with African migrants when it went down.
A second recovery effort is under way Saturday in waters about 105 kilometers southeast of Lampedusa, after another ship carrying migrants capsized on Friday.
About 200 people were rescued from the boat that was believed to be carrying as many as 400 passengers. Authorities in Italy and Malta confirmed at least 34 people drowned.
Witnesses say the boat capsized as passengers tried to get the attention of a passing aircraft.
In a Saturday statement, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said witness accounts indicated most of those on board were Syrians or Palestinians and most of those confirmed dead were women and children.
Antonio Guterres said it was "shameful to witness hundreds of unwitting migrants" drowning near Europe's border.
U.N. figures indicate about 30, 000 migrants have arrived in Italy and Malta so far this year, about double the total for 2012.
Lampedusa is geographically closer to Africa than it is to Italy's mainland, making the island a destination for Africans hoping to start a new life in Europe.