Boat Disaster Captain Arrested

Tunisian charged with reckless homicide
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2015 2:55 AM CDT
Updated Apr 21, 2015 5:53 AM CDT
Boat Disaster Captain Arrested
Migrants swim to reach the shore as others remain on a listing vessel that later sunk off the eastern Aegean island of Rhodes, Greece, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Michalis Loizos)

Only 27 survivors have been rescued from a capsized boat thought to have carried as many as 900 people—and two of them have been arrested. Prosecutors say they have arrested the captain and a crew member of the boat in which hundreds are feared to have drowned in the unremitting waves of migrants seeking to escape from war-torn Libya. According to a prosecutor in Italy, the Tunisian captain and a Syrian crew member were arrested aboard the rescue boat that brought survivors from the deadly shipwreck to Sicily. The two were charged with favoring illegal immigration, and the captain was also charged with reckless multiple homicide in relation to the sinking.

Even as the search continued for victims of the weekend disaster, coast guard ships rushed to respond to new distress calls on the high seas. The International Organization for Migration says its Rome office received a distress call about three boats in need of help. The group says the caller reported 300 people on his sinking boat, with about 20 fatalities. In a separate incident, at least three people, including a child, were killed and 93 others were rescued when a wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants who had departed from Turkey ran aground off the Greek island of Rhodes. Dramatic video showed migrants clinging to pieces of wreckage and rescuers helping them ashore. (Read more Italy stories.)

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