Horrific pictures show 550 refugees fighting for their lives by clinging onto capsizing boat

The overcrowded vessel turned over in the Mediterranean today as its migrant passengers desperately tried to reach Europe from war-torn Libya

Migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships "Bettica" and "Bergamini" (unseen) off the coast of Libya in this handout picture released by the Italian Marina Militare on May 25, 2016.
                Desperate migrants are seen holding onto a fast capsizing fishing boat in The Med

 

Horrific pics of more than 550 refugees clinging on to a capsizing boat for their dear lives today will fuel debate over the migrant crisis.

The overcrowded wooden fishing boat turned over off the coast of Libya today as its passengers desperately tried to reach Europe – and the rescue mission is ongoing.

The Italian navy said that while around 500 people have been rescued so far, seven bodies have also been recovered – and there are fears the death toll will rise further.

It brings to more than 6,000 people rescued in total so far this WEEK. Numbers are expected to rocket further as the weather improves and seas calm.

This handout picture released on May 25, 2016 by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) shows the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast today.
             The boat overloaded with people – believed to be travelling from Libya – begins to rock

The Italian navy’s patrol boat Bettica was first to spot the vessel was getting into difficulty and was nearing it when it flipped over.

It had been approaching it to hand out life jackets, but before it could begin a rescue the boat turned over due to the sudden movement of the passengers, a statement said.

This handout picture released on May 25, 2016 by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) shows the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast today.
                  It becomes clear the boat is tipping over and passengers are in trouble

Photographs show the blue fishing boat rocking violently before capsizing, sending hundreds of migrants tumbling into the sea. Several rubber motor boats can also be seen being used in the rescue operation.

Bettica launched lifeboats and life jackets, while the frigate Bergamini, which is also in the area, has reportedly also sent a helicopter and boats to assist in the rescue.

This handout picture released on May 25, 2016 by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) shows the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast today.
               The boat is fully capsized and many are struggling to clamber onto its hull or get away

Some migrants then climbed onto the hull of the overturned vessel, while others swam for lifeboats or toward the navy ship.

Navy swimmers are also shown pulling migrants in lifebelts toward the Bettica.

Women wearing head scarves and children were among those rescued, but no details of the migrants’ nationalities have yet been given.

Boat arrivals rose sharply this week amid warm weather and calm seas.

Italy’s coastguard said 5,600 migrants were rescued on Monday and Tuesday, and officials fear numbers will increase as conditions continue to improve.

This handout picture released on May 25, 2016 by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) shows the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast today.
The frigate Bergamini sent a helicopter but there were too many victims for it to cope as the boat sank

In the past two years, more than 320,000 boat migrants have arrived on Italian shores and an estimated 7,000 died in the Mediterranean as they sought to reach Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.

This handout picture released on May 25, 2016 by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) shows the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast today.
                The strongest managed to reach a nearby vessel and be rescued
Source: Mirror & Getty Images

TH PASHTUN TIMES

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