The coffins with the bodies of the Bangladeshi migrants who died off Lampedusa in late January 2022, in Porto Empedocle (Agrigento) on January 30, 2022 | Photo: ANSA/CONCETTA RIZZO
The coffins with the bodies of the Bangladeshi migrants who died off Lampedusa in late January 2022, in Porto Empedocle (Agrigento) on January 30, 2022 | Photo: ANSA/CONCETTA RIZZO

Authorities are working to identify seven young Bangladeshi migrants who died of hypothermia last week during the crossing from Libya to the island of Lampedusa. The embassy of Bangladesh in Rome has requested the identification in order to repatriate the victims.

Authorities are working to identify seven young Bangladeshi migrants who died of hypothermia last week while trying to reach Lampedusa from Libya. Identification procedures should be completed by Wednesday, February 2, the prefect of Agrigento has said.

The victims' boat was intercepted on January 25 by finance police and port authorities some 18 miles from the little island of Lampione, near Lampedusa.

Three migrants were already dead when the Italian military cutters rescued the fishing vessel while the other four died before reaching Lampedusa, authorities said.

The boat was carrying an additional 280 people, mainly from Bangladesh and Egypt.

Seven migrants have died and some 280 have been rescued by the Italian Coast Guard after they were discovered in a packed wooden boat off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on January 25, 2022 | Photo: Picture-alliance/AP Photo/Pau de la Calle
Seven migrants have died and some 280 have been rescued by the Italian Coast Guard after they were discovered in a packed wooden boat off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on January 25, 2022 | Photo: Picture-alliance/AP Photo/Pau de la Calle

Embassy of Bangladesh has requested repatriation

The seven bodies on Sunday, January 30, were taken to Piano Gatta, in Agrigento, for identification procedures. The embassy of Bangladesh has requested the identification of the migrants so their bodies can be repatriated.

Operations to transfer the bodies were coordinated by the prefecture of the Sicilian city of Agrigento, together with the interior ministry.

70 migrants taken to Lampedusa hotspot

A ferry operated by Sansovino on Sunday, January 30, transported the seven bodies from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle, Agrigento, for identification procedures, as well as 70 migrants who were formerly staying at the island's hotspot.

Fifty of the migrants were moved to a quarantine ship to be monitored as part of anti-Covid measures while 20 others, all minors, were taken to the facility of Villa Sikania, in Siculiana, near Agrigento.

Life of seven victims 'ended in nothing', says Agrigento mayor

The mayor of Agrigento, Franco Miccichè, welcomed the bodies on Sunday at the cemetery of Piano Gatta.

"Tonight, we have welcomed these seven boys who had great hopes while their life ended in nothing," he said.

"As a doctor, I knew the phenomenon and the despair of these journeys; today, as a mayor, I host these poor unfortunate" people, he noted, speaking at the cemetery where the seven who died of hypothermia were taken for identification procedures.

The mayor put a bouquet of flowers and a red rose on each of the numbered caskets.

'Agrigento a transit point', says prefect

"It is a circumstance that adds pain to pain", said the prefect of Agrigento, Maria Rita Cocciufa, welcoming the Sansovino ferry carrying the seven victims, in Porto Empedocle, on Sunday.

"We are playing our part, the bodies will be taken to a building in Piano Gatta because their country of origin has started procedures to transfer them to their State. Agrigento will therefore be a point of transit."

Cocciufa added that procedures to identify the victims started in Lampedusa, where the bodies were first taken. Officials in charge of the identification "will return on Tuesday or Wednesday (February 1-2) to complete the procedure and allow the return of the victims of this umpteenth tragedy", she concluded.

 

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