17 people dead and dozens missing after two shipwrecks off coast of Italy

At least 11 people have died and dozens are missing after two ships were wrecked off the coast of southern Italy.

A rescue ship run by a German aid group picked up 51 people, thought to be migrants, from a sinking wooden vessel in the first of two shipwrecks.

The RESQSHIP group said two of the 51 were unconscious and that 10 bodies were found trapped on the wooden ship’s lower deck near the island of Lampedusa.

A wooden boat got into difficulty off Libya. Pic: RESQSHIP
A wooden boat got into difficulty off Lampedusa and floated towards the Libyan coast. Pic: RESQSHIP

The second shipwreck took place about 125 miles east of the Italian region of Calabria, after a boat that had set off from Turkey eight days earlier caught fire and overturned, according to UN agencies. A woman is understood to have died after falling into the water.

At least 12 migrants were rescued, the Italian coastguard said.

The agencies added migrants involved in the second shipwreck came from Iran, Iraq and Syria.

More than 50 people are still missing from the vessel wrecked near Calabria.

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