A woman was rescued at the weekend south of Lampedusa. She was under shock and hospitalized after Tunisian fishermen found her clinging to a life jacket off the island's coast.
The woman was reportedly alone in the freezing water of the Strait of Sicily, holding on to a life jacket, hours after having fallen off a dinghy crammed with people who were attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
At present she is suffering from severe hypothermia and is under shock and is unable to speak.
She was miraculously rescued by a Tunisian fisherman's boat in the night between Friday and Saturday (February 3-4).
Alarm given by Tunisian fishermen
Her story immediately brings back memories of Josepha, the woman from Cameroon who in July of 2018 remained shipwrecked at sea clinging to a piece of wood, with next to her the dead body of another woman and a 5-year old boy after the dinghy they were on sank.
In that case it was the volunteers of Open Arms who rescued her and the picture showing the horror in her eyes went viral.
The woman who was saved between the night of Friday and Saturday was moved by an Italian medical emergency helicopter from the Poliambulatorio in Lampedusa to the San Giovanni di Dio hospital in the city of Agrigento in Sicily after she was found at sea with a life jacket.
It was a group of Tunisian fishermen who gave the alarm after having rescued the woman at sea. They called the port authorities who went to pick-up the woman and brought her to the Favarolo dock of Lampedusa.
The public prosecutor's office of Agrigento, and the assistant prosecutor Salvatore Vella, are waiting for the woman to be able to speak again to understand what happened to her.
More than one hundred arrivals on dinghies over the weekend
The woman probably fell off the dinghy and she was thrown the life-jacket to save her by one of the dinghies traveling to Lampedusa.
Perhaps it was the one carrying 39 people that arrived on the island after being rescued by a port authority patrol boat at 6:25 pm on Friday.
The 39 migrants, who are from the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea, Tunisia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, told rescue workers that while sailing they saw the bodies of two men at sea.
In Lampedusa during the weekend arrivals did not stop.
Several small boats with over one hundred people, arrived. This included women and minors. Among the 42 migrants on the dinghy that was rescued on Thursday night there were 8 dead bodies, as well as the father of a 4 months old newborn who died as well as the husband of the woman who died during the crossing.
The newborn slipped from his mother's arms and died at sea, according to what was clarified after. An earlier account noted that it was the mother herself who, overwhelmed by desperation for her child's death, threw him into the sea.
Also read: Ten migrants die off Lampedusa, as Italy continues controversial decree