Rome

'Several dead' in immigrant boat off Lampedusa

Some 80 people adrift at sea, Coast Guard on scene

'Several dead' in immigrant boat off Lampedusa

Rome, July 3 - Several migrants have reportedly died trying to reach Italy while crossing the Mediterranean. A ship from the Italian Navy and two from the Coast Guard were aiding a raft with roughly 80 people on board said to be adrift 80 miles off the coast of Lampedusa on Wednesday. The tiny island which is part of Sicily will host Pope Francis on his first trip outside the Rome area as pontiff Monday. He is scheduled to celebrate a mass at an immigration center that has been a constant source of overcrowding. Immigration from Northern Africa picks up in summer months as sea conditions improve. But many die while attempting the voyage, often in crammed and unsafe boats. (photo: archive picture of immigrant boat in Lampedusa)

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