In this file photo taken on August 11, 2019, a crew member of the ‘Ocean Viking’ rescue ship, operated by French NGOs SOS Mediterranee and Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), stands ready on board of a “rib”, an inflatable dinghy, as they approach another inflatable boat carrying some 81 migrants, during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea.
Two bodies have been recovered and around 25 people are missing after a small boat carrying migrants capsized off Lampedusa, the Italian coastguard said on Monday.
The coastguard went to the rescue of an “overloaded and already listing boat six nautical miles from the island of Lampedusa” with about 50 migrants on board shortly after midnight on Monday, a statement said.
As the rescue vessels approached the area off the southern Italian island, “the adverse weather conditions and the sudden displacement of the migrants” caused the boat to capsize, it said.
The coastguard and a customs vessel have rescued 22 people with the search for survivors ongoing, including by air, the coastguard said.
Survivors told Italian media that at least eight children were among those still missing during the attempt to make the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe.