Italy Detains Alleged Shipwreck Captain

He'll face charges for deadly migrant boating disaster
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2013 11:01 AM CDT
Italy Detains Alleged Shipwreck Captain
Italian Coast Guard personnel recover a body bag on their patrol boat in Lampedusa island, Italy, Oct. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/Francesco Malavolta)

(Newser) – Italian police have detained the man they believe was piloting the ship full of immigrants that capsized last week, and are considering charging him with manslaughter or even murder for the many killed in the incident. Khaled Bensalam, 35, has been arrested and expelled from Italy in the past for smuggling in immigrants, the Wall Street Journal reports. Prosecutors say he was "one of the two white men on board" the boat, and that they're still looking for the other.

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Bensalam is Tunisian, the AP reports, and was transferred from Lampedusa to Argrigento under custody. Divers are still recovering bodies from the wreck; yesterday they found 43, bringing the officially tally to 275. But that number is expected to rise, as only 155 of the roughly 500 people aboard survived. Almost everyone aboard was an immigrant, most from Eritrea. A disproportionate number of the dead appear to be women. There were only six women among the survivors, but 81 have been found dead. (Read more Lampedusa stories.)

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