Italy recovers 8 bodies, including pregnant woman, from migrant boat
Italian media accounts quote interpreters who spoke to survivors as saying that those who died were believed to have died of cold and starvation.
The bodies of eight migrants, including a pregnant lady, were discovered by Italy's coastguard from a stricken boat in the central Mediterranean on Friday, as per the mayor of the island of Lampedusa.
The coastguard "recovered eight bodies, five men and three women" late Thursday, and 42 survivors were brought ashore, mayor Filippo Mannino said, as quoted by AFP.
Italian media accounts quoted interpreters who spoke to survivors as saying that the rescued migrants were drenched through and those who died were believed to have died of cold and starvation.
The migrants sailed from Sfax in Tunisia in the early hours of Saturday, ANSA news agency reported.
The tragedy occurred as Italy's new right-wing government clashed with the Council of Europe, the continent's main human rights organization, over the country's crackdown on charity rescue ships operating in the central Mediterranean.
In December, Italy's government approved a rule to fine charities who save migrants at sea and impound their ships if they breach the new set of rules.
The move is considered by one campaign group as life-threatening.
While Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government has targeted sea rescue charities, accusing them of easing the work of people traffickers amid growing arrivals, the charities denied the accusation.
About 104,000 migrants have arrived in Italy in 2022, according to data, in comparison with about 67,000 in last year's same period, 34,000 in 2020, and more than 181,000 in 2016.
Handling immigration in the European Union has caused tensions for years. Italy and Spain have long said EU allies must take on more migrants arriving on their shores.
In November, the issue led to a diplomatic row between France and Italy after the latter refused to let a charity boat carrying around 200 migrants dock in its ports, and the ship eventually sailed to France.