“We used a rope to dip clothes into the sea and use[d] that to squeeze water on people who had lost consciousness.”
A Syrian man describing the conditions on board a fishing boat before it capsized off the Coast of Greece on Wednesday, June 14. This tragedy is described as potentially being "one of the worst of its kind."
jun 23, 2023
Who: As many as 750 people from Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and the Palestinian territories. "Only 104 people have been rescued alive," CNN reports. Human smuggling suspects who were on the ship have also been arrested.
What: The heavily-packed boat, which had departed from Libya and was heading for Italy, capsized after traveling at sea for five days. Many of the people on board were "seeking a better life in Europe," The Associated Press reports. Before the ship sank, conditions on the boat have been described as dire.
Where: In the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Greece.
When: Wednesday, June 14, 2023, in the early hours of the morning.
Why/How: "Investigators are still seeking to understand what exactly happened as the trawler sank trying to reach Italy — whether smugglers refused assistance and panic on the ship caused it to capsize, as the [Greek] Coast Guard claims, or whether a failed attempt to tow the ship caused it to sink, as some survivors contend," The New York Times reports.
- Context: The International Rescue Committee explains, "Each year thousands of people make this dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea. It’s all too common for these journeys to end tragically—with deaths in the Mediterranean Sea reaching an all time high in 2023," further noting that "The Central Mediterranean Sea is one of the world’s deadliest migration routes."