Posted by News Express | 21 July 2016 | 2,849 times
An unspecified number of Nigerian migrants have been found dead on a rubber dinghy floating in the central Mediterranean, effectively ending their quest for a better life in Europe. The bodies of 21 women and one man were found on Wednesday, humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.
An MSF ship patrolling the Mediterranean came across two vessels in distress and rescued 209 people, including 50 children, says a report in The Sun of London. The 22 bodies were retrieved from one of the dinghies, the report said.
It quoted Jens Pagotto, MSF Head of Mission for Search and Rescue Operations, as saying in a statement: “When our team approached the first dinghy, they saw dead bodies lying at the bottom of the boat in a pool of fuel.”
“The survivors had been on the boat with the bodies of these women for hours on end.
“Many are too traumatised from what they have endured to be able to talk about what had happened.
“It’s still unclear exactly how these women died.”
He added: “It is still not entirely clear what happened, but they died a horrible death. It is tragic.
“It seems that water and fuel mixed together and the fumes from this might have been enough for them to lose consciousness.”
He said a team of trauma specialists would be on hand to help the survivors when they reached land
Pagotto went on to say the two dinghies had probably left the Libyan coast in the early hours of Wednesday and were found around 17 miles east of the capital Tripoli.
“The survivors, most of them from West African states such as Nigeria and Guinea, were being brought to Sicily along with the dead and were due to reach the port of Trapani on Friday,” The Sun said.
It quoted a spokeswoman for MSF as saying that the dinghies were found in international waters not far from Libya.
Almost 3,000 boat migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
•Photo shows an MSF team ferrying rescued migrants to safety.
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