At least 30 dead after migrant ship rips apart near Italy’s shores

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At least 30 migrants died early Sunday when their boat ripped apart off the coast of Italy, Italian media reports said.

Italian state radio reports said the exact death count was still uncertain as of mid-morning local time Sunday as most of the dead bodies washed up on or near to the shores of Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort town in the southern Italian region of Calabria. At least three dead bodies were recovered at sea, authorities said.

Italian news agency ANSA said 33 people have died in this accident, including many children and women.

Vigili del Fuoco, Italy’s national fire and rescue brigades, said searches were ongoing via boat, jet ski and helicopter. They also reported pulling around 40 survivors out of the sea.

Unconfirmed media reports put the death toll at more than 40.

The ship reportedly carried more than 100 refugees, including many children, when it began experiencing difficulties. It broke up on hitting beneath-the-surface rocks in rough weather off the Calabrian Coast. The reports said the passengers were mainly from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Government officials are expected to make a formal announcement about Sunday’s developments on Monday, a source told Xinhua.

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