At least 62 people died in the Mediterranean after weeks of attempting to sail to Italy. The ship carrying 72 African migrants contacted a refugee group in Rome by satellite phone and asked them to call the authorities. The Italian coast-guard contacted several ships in the area described as well as alerting Maltese authorities. The survivors tell a harrowing tale:
” Soon a military helicopter marked with the word “army” appeared above the boat. The pilots, who were wearing military uniforms, lowered bottles of water and packets of biscuits and gestured to passengers that they should hold their position until a rescue boat came to help. The helicopter flew off, but no rescue boat arrived”
Soon after an aircraft carrier believed to be the French Charles de Gaulle was spotted, two aircraft took off and flew low over the boat. Despite this they were left to die of starvation and thirst. The UNHCR has demanded an enquiry. They state that over 800 migrants have thought to have died so far in recent attempts of migrants fleeing conflicts in North Africa to reach Europe.
This show of indifference from the authorities underlines the reality of European attitudes to migrants when out of sight of the public. The border agency Frontex has been documented ignoring and turning boats over in the Aegean and Mediterranean.
This news comes as the latest from the horrific tragedies of people dying to reach safety yet again. Despite NATO bombing Libya in the name of peace they show their true colours when leaving the same intended protected people to drown.