Feb. 26 (UPI) — Dozens of migrants were killed overnight when a ship carrying migrants wrecked off the coast of Italy, officials said Sunday.
The Italian Coast Guard said in a statement that 43 people have died and 80 people have been rescued alive after the ship broke apart near the town of Crotone in the Calabria region of Italy.
The Italian news agency Adnkronos reported Sunday that the death toll had been updated to 57, and that as many as eight of the victims have been children.
“The research will continue with naval means, aircraft and the use of subs,” the Italian Coast Guard said in its statement.
Video footage shared by the Italian Coast Guard showed the destruction of the ship along the shoreline.
The ship was carrying as many as 180 migrants from various nationalities including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Somalia, according to Adnkronos.
Of those who have been rescued, 16 remain hospitalized and one is in intensive care for their injuries. The news agency reported that “several” remain missing.
The disaster led European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to call for redoubled efforts for the stalled Pact on Migration and Asylum, first proposed in 2016.
“I am deeply saddened by the terrible shipwreck off the coast of Calabria,” von der Leyen said in a statement. “The resulting loss of life of innocent migrants is a tragedy.”
The incident came just weeks after at least one woman died and 41 others were rescued when a boat carrying migrants sunk off the coast of the Greek island Leros.