Malta, saved migrants still in critical condition

VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Five individuals have lost their lives and eight others have been rushed to hospital after their 25-foot twin-engined boat capsized during the rescue operation. Despite swift response efforts, tragedy struck as the boat overturned, plunging several passengers into the sea.
According to the latest information, some survivors remain in critical condition, necessitating urgent treatment at Mater Dei Hospital. In some cases, the severity of their conditions has warranted ambulance escorts by Transport Malta officials.
The boat was carrying 34 passengers while crossing the Mediterranean. 21 migrants were successfully rescued and transported to the Ħal Far detention centre. The manned boat was en route to Malta and was located approximately 5 miles off Żonqor, near a fish farm.
Human rights organisations aditus Foundation and the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), said they were “extremely saddened” by news of “yet another tragedy at sea.”
The organizations added: “We are further upset by Malta’s treatment of the survivors. According to news sites that we are unable to confirm, 21 persons were taken to Malta’s main detention centre,” the organisations said.
The two NGOs stressed: “The survivors came within inches of death whilst at the same time witnessing their friends and possibly loved ones drowning around them. No words can possibly describe the mental state they must be in. We therefore strongly urge Malta to offer them all the psychological support they require, particularly to the most vulnerable. This support cannot be provided in detention, but requires a safe and caring space. This is an opportunity for Malta to do what is right,” the NGOs said.
In a separate statement on Friday evening, the government expressed deep regret over the death of the five people. It commended the AFM’s efforts and assistance of medics, and insisted that the tragedy was “the result of human trafficking models that the Maltese government would continue trying to dismantle.”
The asylum seekers hail from various countries, including Syria, Egypt, Ghana, and Eritrea.
An extensive investigation into the incident has been launched by multiple authorities, including the Police. A magisterial inquiry is underway to uncover the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
Malta has been repeatedly accused of not rescuing migrants in distress at sea as well as of being complicit in unlawful pushbacks.
– photo Agenzia Fotogramma –
(ITALPRESS)