Baby missing in migrant capsizing off Italian island

ROME (AP) — Rescuers searched the waters near a southern Italian island on Sunday for a 2-week-old baby girl who went missing after a migrant boat capsized.

Italian authorities said the boat overturned a day earlier near the uninhabited islet of Lampione, part of the archipelago that includes Lampedusa, a tourist island where many rescued migrants are sheltered.

Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, told Italian daily Il Messaggero that Italian border police had rescued the other passengers from the capsized boat.

Among the 39 survivors from various sub-Saharan countries were eight children and the parents of the missing newborn, the Italian daily La Sicilia reported on its website on Sunday.

The rescue was one of many carried out by Italian military vessels or private charity boats off Lampedusa and southern mainland Italy in recent days. Hundreds of rescued people are now temporarily housed in a chronically overcrowded migrant residence in Lampedusa.

Italy has struggled for more than a decade to stop migrants bound for Europe from attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in smuggler boats launched from Libya, Tunisia or elsewhere in North Africa.

Most of these migrants fail to seek asylum because they are fleeing poverty, not war or persecution.

Italy’s new prime minister, far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, has campaigned to pledge to crack down on the migration route. It advocates a naval blockade of the southern rim of the Mediterranean.

“We must continue to reaffirm the need to entrust migratory flows to States and their ability to manage this phenomenon, and not to the action of traffickers and not to that of spontaneous (action) even if it is humanitarian”, Piantedosi told Il Messagéro.

Matteo Salvini is a key partner in Meloni’s one-day coalition government. As Italy’s interior minister a few years ago, Salvini tried to block lifeboats from disembarking migrants in Italian ports and was prosecuted for his efforts.

Piantedosi said he planned to discuss migrant issues later on Sunday with his French counterpart and with French President Emmanuel Macron, who was attending a peace conference in Rome.


Follow AP’s coverage of global migration at

Frances D’emilio, Associated Press


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