70 migrants reach Italian island of Lampedusa
ROME: Some 70 migrants made it to the Italian island of Lampedusa after a Tunisian fishing boat discovered their vessel 29 kilometres off land, the Italian coastguard said.
The coastguard said Malta should have been responsible for the rescue operation, but the people in boat were taken to Lampedusa, according to numerous media reports on Saturday.
Whether the Italian coastguard rescued the people onboard or simply escorted the boat into harbour remains unclear.
“Seventy people had their lives saved by the Italian coastguard and are safe in the harbour of Lampedusa,” the NGO Mediterranea, which operates an observation ship in the Mediterranean sea, tweeted early on Saturday.
Those on the boat were from Eritrea, Ghana and Syria, and had been onboard for around 35 hours, according to Italian news agency Ansa.
Ever since Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini implemented a rigorous anti-migration policy, very few migrants have been able to make it to the country. So far in October, some 400 people have arrived, according to the Interior Ministry.
In Athens, eleven migrants travelling from Turkey to Greece were killed when their minibus collided head-on with a lorry near the Greek port city of Kavala, state broadcaster ERA reported on Saturday.
Three minors were among those killed in the fiery crash, the cause of which was not initially clear. The driver of the truck is reported to have survived with light injuries.
Greece reports near daily arrests of smugglers carrying migrants from the Turkish border. In the first nine months of the year, 12,000 migrants came to Greece via this land route, official figures show. — dpa