The incident occurred last week as smugglers tried to move a group of Muslim illegals traveling in a boat from the Libyan city of Tobruk to a larger boat crowded with hundreds of people on its way to Italy, according to the U.N. The larger boat capsized at an unknown location between Libya and Italy.
USA Today (h/t Liz) The 41 survivors — 37 men, three women and a 3-year-old — were rescued by a merchant ship and taken to Kalamata, Greece on April 16. Those rescued include 23 Somalis, 11 Ethiopians, six Egyptians and a Sudanese, the U.N. said. The survivors told agency staff they were part of a group of 100 to 200 people who left on a 90-foot boat from a place near Tobruk.
The survivors include people who had not yet boarded the larger vessel, as well as some who managed to swim back to the smaller boat. They drifted at sea possibly for three days before being spotted and rescued.
The refugee agency visited the survivors at a stadium in Kalamata, where they have been housed by local authorities “while they undergo police procedures,” according to the U.N. report. The statements offered the most official comment yet following repeated news reports about the incident in recent days.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has vowed to give every one of the victims a decent burial. (Why? Send them back where they came from)
So far this year, 179,552 migrants arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean from North Africa and Turkey, a number that dwarfs the 23,425 migrants who arrived during the same period in 2015, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.