Horn of Africa This Week

Migrant ship capsizes in Lampedusa

An overcrowded boat with an estimated 500 people on board capsized in the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.

The overcrowded boat is said to have caught on fire after those on board set alight to clothing to signal for rescue boats. The incident is the deadliest shipwreck of migrants arriving to the small island of Lampedusa. Many on the boat departing from the Libyan port of Misrata was from Eritrea and Somalia. A death toll of 121 stands as rescue missions continue; 155 were reported to have made it to shore alive and 250 are still unaccounted for.


The BBC reported,

The 20m (66ft) boat carrying more than 500 people – mostly from Eritrea and Somalia – was approaching Lampedusa early on Thursday when it began taking on water after its motor stopped working. Mr Mesfa told the BBC that the skipper set fire to a piece of material to try to attract the attention of passing ships, only to have the fire spread to the rest of the vessel. The boat – which set sail from the Libyan port of Misrata – is thought to have capsized when everyone moved to one side.           



About the author

Mohammed A

Mohammed Ademo is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. He's the founder and editor of, an independent news website about Ethiopia.

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