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ROME, October 3. (Itar-Tass) – The number of victims of the shipwreck which happened near Lampedusa island, has increased to 93; lives of four children were claimed by the tragic accident.
Representatives of the rescue services stated that the ship was carrying 500 refugees from Somalia and Eritrea. 250 are currently MIA. The ship started sinking early morning on Thursday – there was no chance to send out a distress call. Refugees decided to light a blanket on fire to use as a signal. As a result, the sinking ship caught fire.
Coastguard and civilian ships in the area are participating in the rescue operation.
Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and Minister of Integration Cécile Kyenge are on the way to the incident site.
Many public figures have voiced their condolences. Pope Francis called the incident “a disgrace.”
Press conference of the Italian government has been postponed due to the tragegy.