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By Avery Richardson
A ship carrying African migrants to Europe caught fire and flipped over off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa Thursday. The death toll was at least 114 people as hundreds were dumped into the sea. Over 150 people were rescued, but 200 people are missing.
The trek to Europe over the Mediterranean Sea is not easy. Smugglers charge thousands of dollars to bring people to Europe aboard overcrowded, inadequate boats, and providing no safety necessities, like life jackets.
This is one of the deadliest recent accidents on the Mediterranean Sea.
“We need only caskets, certainly not ambulances,” Pietro Bartolo, chief of health services on Lampedusa, told Radio 24.
The number of fatalities is expected to increase as searches are still happening.
The boat was believed to be carrying at least 500 people, according to an expert with the International Organization for Migration. There were migrants from Eritrea, Ghana and Somalia. The boat left from Tripoli, catching on fire at Lampedusa (which is closer to Africa than the Italian mainland).
“This is not an Italian drama, this is a European drama,” Italian interior minister, Angelina Alfano. As Italy has pressed the European Union for more help to fight the crisis, which it says concerns the union.