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Deaths as another migrant boat sinks in Channel of Sicily

Comes after disaster last week that may have claimed 363 lives

11 October, 19:57
Deaths as another migrant boat sinks in Channel of Sicily (ANSA) - Rome, October 11 - Dead bodies were seen floating in the sea after a boat carrying an estimated 250 migrants sank in the Channel of Sicily on Friday, Navy sources said. Two Italian Navy ships and helicopters are in the area for the rescue effort and dozens of survivors were reported to be aboard one of the ships. Italian coast guard and police vessels were also travelling to the area.

The wreck comes just eight days after a migrant-boat disaster near the Sicilian island of Lampedusa in which as many as 363 people, mostly Eritrean and Somali, may have died.

Friday's incident took place some 60 miles south of Lampedusa in Maltese waters.

The Maltese Navy said the migrants started moving around on their boat, which had run into trouble, to attract the attention of a Maltese military aircraft on a patrol.

This movement reportedly caused the boat to capsize. European Commission President Jose' Manuel Barroso pledged the EU would give more help to Italy to cope with its migrant crisis during a visit to Lampedusa on Wednesday following last week's disaster. Lampedusa is the main port of entry into Europe for migrants smuggled by boat from Libya or Tunisia.

Each year, thousands of people make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in often rickety and overcrowded vessels.

Pope Francis visited Lampedusa on his first trip outside the Rome area in July to draw attention to the plight of refugees.