[WATCH] Italian newspaper’s exclusive footage of horrific Lampedusa tragedy

Italian newspapaper La Repubblica publishes rescue footage of October 2013 Lampedusa tragedy in which 400 migrants perished • CAUTION Viewers' discretion is required due to content

Some of the survivors of the Lampedusa tragedy brought to shore on Malta
Some of the survivors of the Lampedusa tragedy brought to shore on Malta

Italian newspaper La Repubblica has published underwater footage of the Lampedusa shipwreck of 3 October 2013, that is believed to have left 400 dead.

The Maltese armed forces has brought in 147 shipwrecked asylum seekers, after a 10-hour journey from where tragedy struck at a point 61 nautical miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The Armed Forces of Malta has refused a Freedom of Information request by MaltaToday, on the specific details concerning its rescue mission on 11 October to save some 200 asylum seekers shipwrecked off Lampedusa - the second Lampedusa tragedy.

The AFM failed to specify why it was refusing MaltaToday’s request for exact timelines in the way it effected the October rescue.

The Armed Forces is being asked to explain what could have possibly been a two to three-hour delay on the fatal 11 October shipwreck, and which may also explain why the Italian coast guard did not effect a faster and timelier rescue mission when it was first alerted to a boat in distress that would later result in the deaths of 268.

Just over 200 lives were saved by the Maltese and the Italians during the shipwreck.
The AFM first located the boat at 4pm on 11 October, using its King Air aircraft - but that was three hours after the Italian coast guard informed the Maltese army with the coordinates of the boat in distress.

It is crucial to learn at what time the Hawker Beechcraft King Air plane left Malta after Rome’s Coordination Centre passed on the rescue mission at 1:05pm.

A chronology of the events of the day as relayed by Admiral Felicio Angrisano to Italian weekly L’Espresso, revealed that the Italians offloaded the responsibility for the search-and-rescue mission to Malta, when an Italian naval asset – the ITS Libra – was closer to the boat in distress.
Although the migrants[ boat was located within Malta’s search and rescue zone, the boat was also 60 nautical miles (113km) south of Lampedusa island, and 218km away from Malta.

What is unclear at this stage is whether Italy and Malta were collaborating with each other at that point when, at 1:05pm, the Italians decided to pass the buck to Malta.

While the Italians say they passed on the rescue coordination to Malta at 1:05pm, it is unclear as to what took place between this hour and the AFM’s location of the boat at 4pm. Admiral Angrisano says the time the King Air located the boat is at 4:22pm.

According to L’Espresso, Italy’s Libra patrol boat – apart from the merchant vessels Stadt Bremerhaven and the Tyrusland, respectively carrying flags of the Marshall Islands and the United Kingdom – was already 27 miles away from the rescue point. From data collected by Goldsmiths University’s oceanographic project, it is believed that the Libra - out on patrol to protect Italian fishermen from Libyan militias - could have made it to the rescue point within 90 minutes at its top speed of 37 km per hour.

What is sure is that the Italians did not despatch the Libra any sooner. In fact it was only after the AFM’s patrol boat P61 arrived on the scene at a time between 5:07pm and 5:15pm, that it alerted the Italians for assistance.

As confirmed by Admiral Angrisano, the Libra and Espero naval assets, as well as coast guard and Guardia fi Finanza, arrived on the scene soon after.

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