STECCATO DI CUTRO: Five days after leaving Turkey, migrants crowded in the darkness on board the wooden sailboat pleaded with their dealers on the radio for help how they rolled in increasingly stormy seas off Italy.
people the smugglers assured them they were safe by holding up iPad for show how they were close to the shore and they say that they wanted to land on southern toe of Italy in V dead of the night before avoid police patrols and some arrests.
Their confidence was inappropriate. A few hours later, the boat called “Summer Love” broke into pieces. on rocks in sight of village of Steccato di Cutro, killing at least 72 of approximately 180 migrants on board.
Without their knowledge, a plane from the border of the European Union Frontex mission spotted the ship at about 5-1/2 hours earlier and made it clear to the Italian authorities that he could transport migrants below deck.
However, two police boats sent out intercept a ship failed to find him and turned back because of bad weather. Larger Coast Guard boats, better suited for search and rescue, were not called. on.
The crash attracted attention on ruthless smugglers who more often using Turkey as a launching pad for travel to Italy. He has also raised questions about why the Italian authorities failed prevent one of the worst shipwrecks in recent history.
Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, who beret hard line on immigration, dismissed suggestions that more could be done by stating that Frontex did not warn that the boat was in risk of sinking.
“The emergency message from Frontex did not reach our authorities,” she said. last a week. Frontex said it was up local officials to decide how respond to his observations.
Reuters spoke with relatives of victims and officials in investigation and reviewed the stories of survivors of V deadly journey. They identified efforts made traffickers avoid detection in the boat is not suitable for target. They also show how authorities on Earth failed understand danger at hand.
SUSPICE IS IGNORED
Migrants, including Afghans, Pakistanis, Iranians and Syrians, set set sail from a secluded Turkish bay on February 22, payment of 8000 euros each for safe passage. Less than three hours later, the yacht broke down down and eventually they switched to an old wooden kaikko.
“It was dilapidated and had no seats… pools of oil on V floor” one of the migrants told police, according to a transcript seen by Reuters.
Frontex said one of his planes, which regularly patrol the Mediterranean, spotted the boat 40 miles offshore. of Italy at 22:26 (21:26 GMT) on saturday like weather worsened.
“There were no signs of disaster,” the agency said in a statement. in statement, adding that it nonetheless aroused suspicion because a thermal image of the aircraft showed that there could be people below the deck is a sign that they may be smuggled migrants.
Frontex informed the coordination center located in A building used by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) customs police near Rome. Italian officials sent two GdF patrol boats to investigate rather than carry out a rescue operation.
An official with knowledge of V mission, who declined to be named, said GdF boats were unable to reach “Summer Love” due to rough seas and relocated around 3:40 am.
There were no police sure if they were dealing with migrants or possible smugglers of drugs or cigarettes, official said.
Retired coast guard Admiral Vittorio Alessandro told Reuters authorities were less likely to order a rescue. mission for boats of migrants than for registered ships.
“If we’re dealing with boats that do not involve migrants, then precautions take precedence,” he said.
hundreds of thousands of Migrants arrived in Italy by boat over V past a decade escaping conflict and poverty back home. Meloni government vowed to crack down on arrival, but denies any suggestion that the rescue operation will be delayed.
“Eat anyone in this country who really thinks that government deliberately allowed more than 60 people die including children? Meloni said over the weekend.
THE TRAGEDY IS UNWARDING
Survivors told investigators about human traffickers changed direction in early hours of Sunday, fearing that there are police nearby. They hit rocks around 4 am.
No one on board gave a distress signal. call. Two migrants told the police that the traffickers equipped with A device for jamming phone calls to prevent communication that could give away them location.
first Signs that a tragedy is unfolding come from three fishermen on shore, who I saw the boat crash. first police car I arrived on scene at 4:30 am, and officers immediately attempted to rescue those struggling get to the ground.
A lot of of those on board could not swim. So far the bodies of 28 minors and 30 women have been restored. Seventy nine people survived and about 30 are still missing dead.
Crotone’s chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Capoccia, launched two investigations. one traffickers, and another is whether enough has been done to avoid tragedy.
He told Reuters it was vital for V government strengthen the security forces in V area deal with with arrivals from Turkey who last year up to five per week.
“The rescue and law enforcement structures here are the ones of A small city. We face phenomenon that is likely to suppress us even as a nation,” he said.
Rome last a month has passed new hard rules on sea rescue on V back of influx of arrivals latest in line of Taken measures over V past seven years to try to contain the migrants.
Lawyer and human rights expert Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo told Reuters that effect of these initiatives were to limit rescue operations in international water.
He said the Coast Guard should coordinate with Ministry of the Interior, slowing down the response time.
However, this was stated by the Minister of the Interior Matteo Piantedosi. parliament on On Tuesday, that smugglers are to blame for everything.
“Affirming that government caused or prevented salvation is a gross lie,” he said.