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Panic in the Med: migrant survivors tell their tales

Panic in the Med: migrant survivors tell their tales
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Dozens of migrants rescued after their ship sank in the Mediterranean on Friday have been brought to Sicily by the Italian Navy.

More than 230 people – it is thought the majority of those on board – were saved in a joint Italian-Maltese operation. But well over 30 bodies have been pulled from the water and it is feared more may have drowned.

Other survivors have been taken to Malta where they underwent medical checks in hospital.

Many are Syrians fleeing the civil war. They sailed from Libya in a vessel anything but seaworthy.

“The boat sank in the sea and the waves were rough and heavy. It was very horrible. All of us, we think we will be dead,” said one Syrian man.

Dramatic video footage of people in the sea after the boat sank has been released by the Italian Navy.

Survivors have been describing scenes of panic in the water.

One man lost his pregnant wife and young daughter. Another family saved their baby but could only watch as their son drowned.

Others claim their boat was fired on as it left the Libyan coast.

Desperate to reach Europe, many said they had paid people smugglers between 700 and 3,000 euros.

On Lampedusa the dead from the previous week’s disaster were loaded onto ships bound for Sicily.

More than 360 are known to have drowned.

Many were Eritreans fleeing compulsory conscription, condemned by human rights groups as akin to slavery.