More than 20 flights cancelled at Catania airport after Sicilian volcano Mount Eta sends plumes of ash in to the sky
ROME (AP) — Italian coast guard officials say a boat carrying about 100 migrants ran aground on a sandbar off Sicily, and six of them died when they tried to swim to shore.
The boat became stranded early Saturday, 15 meters (50 feet) off a beach popular with tourists and locals in Catania.
It is rare for smugglers’ often unseaworthy vessels filled with migrants to aim for shores near cities, and Coast Guard Capt. Roberto D’Arrico said the boat apparently made a navigational error while trying to reach secluded shores undetected.
Authorities were trying to identify the survivors, some of whom swam to safety and others who were rescued by the coast guard. Italian news reports said they included Egyptians and Syrians.
Stunned vacationers stared at the six body bags on the beach.
Gas and ash stream from multiple craters on Sicily’s Mount Etna in this natural-color satellite image. Dark lava, ash, cinders, and scoria (dense volcanic rock filled with gas bubbles) coat the southeastern slopes. The image was collected by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on March 23, 2013.