Off the coast of the island of Lampedusa divers have been working to recover bodies from the migrant boat which sank last week. It is harrowing work as two of the divers explained.
“I found myself among those corpses for more than an hour. It was difficult to look straight at their faces, see the wounds, see their tormented expressions, their striving arms. It was extremely difficult,” said Riccardo Noile.
“When we were bringing one of the bodies to the surface it turned itself, the face close to my mask as if he was asking for help,” said another.
The bodies of more than 200 who perished have now been recovered. It’s believed at least 100 remain in the watery grave trapped inside the vessel.
The boat carrying around 500 mainly Eritrean and Somali migrants capsized and sank throwing hundreds into the water. One hundred and fifty-five survivors were rescued.
It’s reckoned 30,000 migrants have landed in Italy this year four times the number in 2012. Last week’s sinking was one of the worst single incidents of its kind involving migrants crossing to Europe from northern Africa.
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is set to visit on Wednesday to discuss joint action on the refugee crisis.