On Saturday, the Italian navy rescued some 320 migrants from an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean Sea north of Libya. At least 40 other migrants died in the boat’s hold, apparently killed by fuel fumes, the Associated Press reports.
The survivors included 45 women and three children, according to Italian naval commander Massimo Tosi. “Women were crying for their husbands (and) their children who died in the crossing,” he said, speaking from the navy ship Cigala Fulgosi as the rescue was ongoing.
“They are still counting the victims,” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said.
Reuters reports that human smugglers have sent more than 100,000 migrants to Italy so far in 2015. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 2,000 people have died already this year attempting to reach Europe by boat.