Dozens drown after refugee ship breaks apart in rough seas off Italian coast

Dozens of bodies have reportedly washed up on a beach in southern Italy following a suspected migrant shipwreck.

It is believed a boat, carrying hundreds of migrants, broke apart in rough seas off the southern coast of Italy‘s mainland on Sunday.

Reports suggest the bodies of around 33 migrants have so far been spotted on the shores of Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort in the province of Crotone, the toe of the Italian peninsula, while more were seen to still be in the water.

The Adnkronos news agency said that more than 100 people were aboard the boat that carried the migrants.

The scale of the tragedy remains unclear, though the current provisional death toll of 33 will “certainly” rise, news agency ANSA said.

“Several dead are reported among the migrants, (and) about 40 survivors,” the national firefighters’ department wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding the migrants’ ship had run aground by the coast.

Meanwhile, news agency AGI said a baby was among the dead.

The boat, bringing migrants from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, crashed against rocks during rough sea weather, according to Adnkronos.

A coastguard figure was quoted by state radio station RAI as saying vessels from the coast guard, border police and firefighters were involved in rescue efforts.

Danilo Maida, spokesperson for the firefighters in the Calabria region, told Reuters that rescue teams were still looking for more survivors at sea, but conditions are harsh, making the search difficult.

It was not immediately clear where the boat had set out from, but migrant vessels arriving in Calabria usually depart from Turkish or Egyptian shores.

Many of these boats reach remote stretches of Italy’s long southern coastline unaided by the coast guard or humanitarian rescue vessels.

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