Death Toll Rises as Rescues From Crotone Migrant Boat Wreck Continue

At least 59 people died after a boat carrying migrants wrecked off the coast of Steccato di Cutro, Italy, in the early hours of Sunday, February 26, the Italian fire and rescue service Vigili del Fuoco said.

Rescue efforts have been ongoing since this morning, the service said.

Footage shared by Vigili del Fuoco shows emergency services present at the beach and wading into the choppy waves.

Italian media reported that at least 12 of the 59 victims of the wreck were minors. At least 81 survivors have been pulled from the sea, the report added.

An alleged people smuggler has been arrested, according to local reports.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her “deep sorrow” at the incident in a statement on Sunday, saying: “It is criminal to put a boat that is only 20 meters long with 200 people on board and with adverse weather forecasts. It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men, women and children for the price of the ‘ticket’ they paid in the false perspective of a safe journey.”

According to a local media report citing the Guardia di Finanza, the boat was spotted on Saturday by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, but a rescue was not possible at the time due to rough sea conditions. Credit: Vigili del Fuoco via Storyful