At least 27 feared dead after inflatable migrant boat capsizes off France

At least 27 people are believed to have drowned after an inflatable migrant boat carrying at least 100 people capsized on Friday off the French coast, according to Coast Guard services. While the death…

At least 27 feared dead after inflatable migrant boat capsizes off France

At least 27 people are believed to have drowned after an inflatable migrant boat carrying at least 100 people capsized on Friday off the French coast, according to Coast Guard services. While the death toll is expected to rise over the coming days, the bodies of seven migrants who had not been identified have been recovered so far, as well as a woman.

Reports in France and other European countries suggested that around 100 people may have been on board the vessel, which was heading to Italy, when it sank, with 28 survivors being rescued from a nearby lifeboat. Initial estimates suggested that only around 20 people had been on board, but that figure has since been revised upwards.

What prompted the accident is still not entirely clear. European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told the BBC that it was difficult to say whether “sudden large waves” had caused the accident. But the boat is reported to have been on its way back from Libya, the former home of numerous migrant camps, and to have arrived in Mediterranean as “lonely” migrants fleeing war, famine and extreme poverty in North Africa and the Middle East.

Humanitarian groups expressed strong concern at the numbers who had died, but also remarked on how the death toll had dropped from previous months. They pointed out that a system intended to help manage and rescue the migrant flow needed to be more effective, and urged Europe to re-invigorate the disputed Dublin regulation — under which asylum seekers are supposed to apply for protection in the first country they enter — as a way of reducing the number of deaths at sea.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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