Sixty-four dead after dinghy sinks in Mediterranean


…As Tour boat with US passengers sinks off Mexico, injuries reported***

Sixty-four people have died after an overcrowded rubber dinghy launched from Libya sank in the Mediterranean, the International Organisation for Migration(IOM) has said.

The Italian coastguard rescued 86 people from the boat hours after it sustained a puncture and started sinking on Saturday morning. A girl survived after clinging to the body of her mother, witnesses said.

“We saved 86 migrants,” Maria Rita Agliozzo, an Order of Malta doctor on the Italian coastguard vessel, told Radio Radicale. “We did many resuscitations. We resuscitated two children – a two-year-old and a three-year-old – and also a woman.”

Rescuers pulled dozens of people to safety, some of whom had managed to stay onboard the half-submerged dinghy. The bodies of eight women were recovered.

The deaths represent the first large-scale migrant tragedy of 2018 in the Mediterranean. A total of 2,832 migrants died on the central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy in 2017, down from 4,581 in 2016. The number of migrants who reached Italy in 2017 was 119,310, down from 181,436 in 2016.

In the meantime, several people were hurt last week after a tour boat packed with passengers including tourists from South Florida sank off the coast of Mexico.

The boat, which had 10 passengers aboard, sank near Cozumel, the Miami Herald reported. Passengers of Royal Caribbean cruise liners Celebrity Equinox and Navigator of the Seas, both of which departed from Miami, were on the boat.

The Mexican Navy, along with other boats, reportedly responded to the sinking vessel. Some people aboard the boat sustained minor injuries, according to WSVN, but are doing fine.

He added that when the boat sank, he “lost everything (cell phone, wallet, wet passport, etc). Waiting to see how they will reimburse me. At least no death like the bus.”

It happened less than a month after 11 cruise ship passengers in Mexico, who had traveled to the country on Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, died in a tour bus crash.

The passengers, and their tour guide, had died in the December incident as the group was heading to Chacchoben to see the Mayan ruins as part of an off-ship excursion advertised by the cruise company.

About 20 other passengers were injured in that crash.

Guardian UK with additional report from Fox