Photos and footage (video shown below) of hundreds of migrants floating in the Mediterranean Sea surfaced recently after a fishing boat carrying hundreds of people capsized off the coast of Libya.
The incident occurred 15 miles off the coast of the Middle Eastern country on Wednesday, BBC reported. The boat radioed in for help as it was taking on water. However, when rescuers arrived on the scene, the people onboard moved to one side of the boat. This action reportedly overturned and capsized the fishing vessel.
An Italian rescue crew then pulled survivors out of the water. Those with life jackets on were able to float in the water during the rescue mission. Many others treaded water in the hopes of being saved.
“It was a horrible sight: people clinging desperately to lifebelts, to boats, to whatever they could find to stay alive, among people who were drowning or who were already dead," Juan Matias, the rescue coordinator, said in a statement.
According to a United Nations official, the boat “capsized very fast.”
Rescuers were able to recover 25 corpses of drowned victims including three children. Around 100 others who were below the deck of the boat are suspected to have drowned.
“It was a massacre of people of all ages, but in this case the children died first, especially the small children even just a few months old, just tiny," Chiara Montaldo of Medecins san Frontieres said, according to The Daily Mail.
An estimated 650 people were on the boat. The Irish rescue boat initially at the scene was able to save about 400 lives while around 200 died in the wreckage, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
Survivors reportedly said that the smugglers onboard utilized violent methods to keep people below deck. The suspected smugglers were arrested when the rescue boats disembarked.
Photo Credit: The Daily Mail