A fishing boat packed with an estimated 700 people capsized in the Mediterranean last night.
Italy and Malta immediately deployed navy and coast guard ships in an effort to rescue survivors. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Sunday that 28 bodies had been recovered and that the number is “bound to increase.” Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said 49 people had been rescued.
“If confirmed, this would be the largest tragedy ever in the Mediterranean involving migrants,” Muscat said in a telephone interview. “Nobody should be allowed to die this way.”
A Maltese military official, who asked not be identified, confirmed Italian news reports that about 700 migrants were on board when the boat left the Libyan port of Zuara. The official said the boat capsized about 61 nautical miles (113 kilometers) north of Libya late Saturday.
Italian news reports said the boat capsized when the passengers rushed to one side after spotting a merchant ship, in hopes of being rescued.
One of god’s little jokes, I suppose.