Twenty-five corpses of migrants recovered off Libya, 107 saved
Reggio Calabria (Italy), Oct 26 (IANS/AKI) The corpses of 25 migrants who perished in a shipwreck off Libya were due to reach Italy aboard a medical charity’s rescue ship along with 246 migrants picked up from the dinghy and another boat, rescue officials said.
Doctors without Borders said it picked 107 survivors from the dinghy some 25 nautical miles from the Libyan coast and recovered the 25 corpses in a “horrific” operation.
The bodies of the shipwreck victims were found immersed in water and fuel at the bottom of the dinghy, Doctors without Borders said.
“It took us three hours to retrieve 11 bodies because the mixture of petrol and water is so potent that we just couldn’t risk being in the boat for long periods of time,” the charity’s field coordinator Michele Telaro said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It was horrific,” he added.
Among the 107 rescued survivors from the dinghy, 23 needed medical treatment for chemical burns of which 11 of the cases were severe, Doctors without Borders said.
Two survivors of the shipwreck were so badly injured that they were taken by helicopter for emergency treatment in Italy, the charity added.
Doctors without Borders said it has rescued over 17,000 people in the Mediterranean since it began its rescue operations in April amid a continuing influx of migrants heading to Europe from North Africa.
Some 8,300 people were rescued in the Strait of Sicily between Friday and Wednesday and 43 bodies were recovered, according to figures from the International Organisation for Migration and Italian officials.
Around 327,800 people have arrived in Europe by boat this year of whom over 153,600 reached Italy, according to the United Nations.
A total 3,740 lives have been lost at sea in 2016 what the UN says is the deadliest year on record.