Some 50 dead in new boat disaster in Channel of Sicily
Victims reportedly include 10 children11 October, 21:01
Friday's incident took place some 60 miles south of Lampedusa in Maltese waters.
Sources among the rescuers said around 200 people have been saved so far after the boat, which was carrying an estimated 250 migrants, sank.
Some 150 survivors are on a Maltese ship and around 50 are on a Italian Navy vessel, the sources said. 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.
The new boat wreck is the "dramatic confirmation of the emergency situation" Italy faces with migrants, Premier Enrico Letta said Friday, according to government sources. The sources said Letta was determined to raise the issue with force at the next summit of European Union leaders.
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.