Devil and the deep blue sea

Devil and the deep blue sea: how Mediterranean migrant disaster unfolded

Desperate migrants from Gaza and Syria tell how they put themselves at the mercy of people smugglers – and hundreds died at sea

 in Gaza and  in Alexandria

The first the crew of the Antarctica knew of the disaster was a radio request to help a search and rescue operation. There were bodies in the water 200 miles off the coast of Malta. Two other ships – the Verdi and the Japan – were already at the scene, picking people out of the sea. The Antarctica was swiftly diverted and took command until the arrival of coastguard and naval ships.

The timesheet of the rescue makes for chilling reading, a catastrophe recounted in staccato phrases.

The Verdi picks up four people in the water, the log recalls, but one of them is dead. An empty liferaft is spotted. And then a body in the water. A woman and two children are rescued by the Japan.

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