11:29 04 October 2013
In one of the worst disasters that took place off the Italian Coast in recent years, reports have confirmed that a boat carrying about 500 people capsized killing at least 103 African migrants.
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano confirmed that at least two pregnant women and three children were among the dead. Of the 500 passengers, 250 are still unaccounted for.
According to Mr Alfano, the ship, which came from Misrata in Libya, began taking on water when its motor stopped working. There are reports saying that in an effort to attract attention of passing ships, some people on board set fire using a piece of material. Unfortunately, the fire spread throughout the boat that caused panic. Passengers reportedly moved to one side of the boat, which capsized.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta took to Twitter and said that it was "an immense tragedy.”
Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said: "There is no miraculous solution to the migrant exodus issue. If there were we would have found it and put it into action."
Italian government has declared a day of national mourning on Friday.