Ten migrants are found dead after suffocating in packed wooden boat carrying 100 across the Mediterranean
- Victims spent 13 hours crammed in lower deck of boat with strong smell of fuel
- Boat was found on Tuesday 30 nautical miles off Libya, trying to reach Europe
- European authorities were accused of ignoring distress calls regarding the boat
Ten migrants have been found dead in an overcrowded wooden boat trying to cross the Mediterranean.
The ramshackle boat, which was packed with around 100 refugees, was found by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team, drifting 30 nautical miles away from the coast of Libya, where it departed.
Dozens of survivors were rescued by the MSF team, and are now on the Geo Barents rescue vessel.
Those on board revealed there was a powerful smell of fuel in the boat and victims had spent more than 13 hours crammed in the lower deck.
So far this year, around 1,225 migrants have died or gone missing while trying to make the perilous crossing to Europe via the Mediterranean.
Ten migrants were found dead inside the lower deck of an overcrowded wooden boat trying to reach Europe from Libya
The victims of the tragedy that took place on Tuesday, had been crammed inside the lower deck of the wooden boat filled with highly intoxicating fuel smells
Caroline Willemen, project coordinator on the Geo Barents, described the Mediterranean as the ‘deadliest migration route’.
‘We are once more witnessing Europe’s unwillingness to provide the much needed dedicated and proactive search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean’ she added.
According to MSF, Geo Barents was alerted of a boat in distress that was taking on water, but couldn’t arrive on time to avoid the tragedy.
Referring to the victims Fulvia Conte, MSF deputy said: ‘It took us almost two hours to retrieve them and to bring them on board, so they can have a dignified burial once arrived onshore.’
Abdoulaye, who was one of the last survivors to leave the boat told the rescuers he barely had time to understand what had just happened.
‘Let me see their bodies. These are my brothers, we come from the same place, we went through Libya together,’ Abdoulaye asked the volunteers, ‘I need to tell their families they are dead. Please let me see them.’
MSF rescued 99 people from the boat, who are now on board of the Geo Barents boat waiting for a place to safely disembark
The survivors are showing signs of acute stress and trauma after the tragedy, some of them had to identify the bodies of family members and friends
In less than 24 hours the Geo Barnet made three rescue operations in international waters near Malta and Libya, rescuing a total of 186 people
In less than 24 hours the MSF team rescued three different boats in international water near Malta and Libya, bringing a total of 186 people safely on board of the Geo Barents.
Willemen has warned: ‘With 186 survivors on board, including relatives of some of the deceased people, and people who travelled for hours on the lower deck of the boat amongst dead bodies, the Geo Barents will urgently be looking for a Place of Safety to disembark this group of extremely stressed and likely traumatised people.’
According to the Guardian, the rescue hotline Alarm Phone accused European authorities of ignoring the distress call: ‘We had raised the alarm, several hours before, but no one answered. We are fed up with the announcements of these deaths that could be avoided’
Among the survivors there are 152 men, 34 women and 61 minors, including a 10-month-old child, coming from a range of countries including Guinea, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Somalia and Syria.
The survivors, who are showing signs of acute stress and trauma after the tragedy, are now on the rescue boat waiting to find a place to safely disembark.
Some of them had to identify the bodies of family members and friends.