ROME (AP) — The Italian Coast Guard on Friday rescued more than 100 migrants and recovered two bodies after a sailboat ran aground near a jetty in southern Italy.
A pair of rescue divers had to coax one survivor, who was clinging to a metal pylon jutting up from the water, to jump into the sea so they could bring him to safety. He was taken by motorboat to Siderno, a town on the west coast of Calabria, the region that forms the “toe” of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula.
One diver shouted, “Jump, jump!” and “Bravo!” to try to boost the man’s courage. Eventually, he leaned down to grab a diver’s outstretched hand.
In all, 108 migrants had been aboard the double-masted sailboat, which had beached and overturned on a sandy shore adjacent to the jetty, the coast guard said.
Sailboats and yachts usually carry far fewer migrants than traffickers’ unseaworthy fishing boats, which often attempt to sail from Libya to the Italian island of Sicily. In that way, the sailboats often avoid detection by appearing to be pleasure boats as they aim for remote stretches of Italy’s long Calabrian coast.
A police helicopter and an Italian coast guard helicopter searched the waters near the jetty in case there were any other survivors or victims, but the coast guard said no one appeared to be missing.
Italian state TV said most of the migrants were from Afghanistan.
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