Updated | 29 bodies recovered from migrants’ seacraft, AFM patrol boat

A further 81 migrants, including two children, were brought to Malta onboard the AFM patrol boat P52 at 12.40pm after finding themselves in difficulties out at sea.

The first of 29 bodies recovered by the AFM (All photos by John Pisani)
The first of 29 bodies recovered by the AFM (All photos by John Pisani)
The migrants' board was towed to Malta
The migrants' board was towed to Malta
A group of 83 migrants rescued on Sunday were brought to Malta
A group of 83 migrants rescued on Sunday were brought to Malta
AFM rescue (20 July 2014)
AFM rescue (20 July 2014)
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Photo: AFM
Maritime squadron operation to recover migrants' bodies
Rescued migrants brought to Malta
The first body recovered from the migrants' boat (All photos by John Pisani)
The first body recovered from the migrants' boat (All photos by John Pisani)
The boat on which 29 migrants, including a baby, perished was brought to Malta
The boat on which 29 migrants, including a baby, perished was brought to Malta
A group of 83 migrants rescued on Sunday were brought to Malta
A group of 83 migrants rescued on Sunday were brought to Malta
A boy and a girl were among the group of migrants rescued by the AFM and brought to Malta onboard the P52
A boy and a girl were among the group of migrants rescued by the AFM and brought to Malta onboard the P52

The number of bodies recovered from the boat is 29, of which 28 are male and one female. The bodies have been conveyed to the mortuary and a Magisterial Inquiry has been appointed. The autopsies are expected to be carried out in the coming days.

The AFM offshore patrol vessel, P61, arrived at Haywharf in Valletta towing the boat at around 8.30am.

This latest tragedy occurred 80 miles off the coast of Lampedusa. Some 400 persons were onboard the boat according to the Maltese government.

Three male bodies and one female body were recovered from the P61 patrol boat whilst a further 25 bodies were recovered on the lower deck of the boat which the migrants travelled in.

Initial sources said that 15 bodies were expected to be recovered in total, although the figure proved much higher. The process of recovering the bodies was a lengthy one as the wooden boat had to first be emptied of all sea water. This operation went on for hours. The first body from the boat was recovered shortly after 1pm.

On the night between Friday and Saturday, Malta's Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (RCC) was informed that a boat carrying migrants was in distress. It is believed that a stampede occurred while the migrants were being transferred onto the merchant vessel. Although the incident happened inside Malta's search and rescue area, Lampedusa was the closest port of call and the surviving migrants were taken to Italy.

Members of the Police Force, the Armed Forces and the Civil Protection Department were all on the scene.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja was also on the scene, as well as members of the Immigration and District Office.

In a separate rescue operation, a further 81 migrants, including two children, were brought to Malta at 12.40pm after finding themselves in difficulties out at sea.

The migrants were brought to Malta onboard the P52. 68 were male whilst 13 were females. A boy and a girl were among the rescued group.

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