A baby was among at least 30 people killed when a boat carrying more than 100 migrants broke up in rough seas off Italy’s southern coast.
The wreck took place near Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort on the east coast of Calabria, a region that forms the tip of Italy’s boot.
Rescue teams using Jet Skis are still searching the choppy waters for survivors, with around 40 so far being counted.
Danilo Maida, spokesman for firefighters in the region, said the death toll in the tragedy “exceeds 30”.
Italian news agency AGI said a baby just a few months old and several children were among the dead.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said: ‘It is a great tragedy that shows the absolute need to act firmly against channels of irregular migration.’
He added that it is “essential” to put an end to sea crossings which, offering migrants the “illusory mirage of a better life” in Europe, enrich traffickers and “cause tragedies like today’s”.
Details on the nationalities of the migrants were not immediately provided in the reports.
It was not immediately clear where the boat departed from, but migrant ships arriving in Calabria usually depart from Turkish or Egyptian coasts.
Italy is one of the main landing points for migrants trying to enter Europe by sea. The so-called central Mediterranean route is known as one of the most dangerous in the world.
According to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, 20,333 people have died or gone missing in the central Mediterranean since 2014.
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