Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said that
the MS Aquarius, which it charters along with French NGO
SOS Mediterranee, had picked up over 200 migrants,
including 50 children, who had been trying to reach
Europe via the shores of Italy.
The passengers, who are believed to be mostly from
Nigerian and Guinea, had been on a rubber dinghy with the
22 dead bodies; 21 women and a man for hours.
The Italian coastguard said the MY Phoenix, chartered by
Malta-based foundation MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid
Station) had picked up another 354 people. But after the
migrants clambered to safety on the MSF rescue ship, they
discovered a pile of bodies at the bottom of one of the
“It is not clear how people died. When team approached the
dinghy, dead bodies were at the bottom of the boat in a
pool of fuel and water,” said Jens Pagotto, MSF’ Head of
Mission fir Search and Rescue Operations. It is still not
entirely clear what happened, but they died a horrible
It seems that water and fuel mixed together and the fumes
from this might have been enough for them to lose
consciousness. The survivors, who are mostly believed to
be from Nigeria and Guinea, are now being brought to the
Sicilian port of Trapani, where they are expected to arrive
Mr Pagotto said the two dinghies had probably left Libya in
the early hours of Wednesday and were picked up 17
nautical miles east of Tripoli.
The Italian coastguard received a distress call at about 10am
local time yesterday and notified the MSF ship MV
Aquarius, which took three hours to reach the scene.
“The survivors had been on the boat with the bodies of
these women for hours on end. Many are too traumatised
from what they have endured to be able to talk about what
had happened.”
He said a team of trauma specialists would be on hand to
help the survivors when they reached land

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