Hundreds of migrants dock in Messina, Sicily. They were the lucky ones, after more than 300 hundred others died last week trying to cross the Mediterranean.
Some of the new arrivals had survived after their rubber boat had deflated, 97 others were missing, presumed dead.
Survivors said that a smuggler had towed them out to sea for two hours, and forced them to hand over their life jackets at gun point, before taking away the engine and leaving them adrift.
It is a common ploy of the smugglers to leave their human cargo stranded.
Eighteen year-old Abdullae Diallo from Senegal was aboard when the boat capsized. He said they were waiting to die.
“Only God saved us, nobody thought we would survive inside that boat, because even when the boat capsized, the wooden planks we put below us were broken. Afterwards the wind took them away and left us with only the tube, we held onto the tube but it started to sink, the only thing we counted on was sinking, now what could we do? We knew that if the whole tube sinks, well, we are going to die.”
The Mediterranean is the most dangerous border crossing on the planet. According to the International Organisatin for Migration the death toll has spiked this year, reaching a record high of 4,636 after the latest sinkings, unlikely to be the last of 2016.
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