Lampedusa, 9 May (AKI) – An Adnkronos journalist who helped save the lives of around 30 children aboard a migrant boat that hit rocks off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday, has described the dramatic rescue to Adnkronos International (AKI)
“All the kids were thrown into the water and their mothers jumped in with them. Since the weather was bad, there was a strong undertow and there was fear the boat would capsize,” Elvira Terranova told AKI.
“I held a four-month-old Nigerian baby boy of four months, Severine, in my arms for over an hour, wrapped in a thermal foil blanket.
“He had become separated from his mother, who had earlier been rescued and was distraught because she didn’t know he had also survived,” said Terranova.
“It was very emotional when Severine and his mother were reunited,” Terranova said.
Terranova was the only journalist who joined the rescue operation involving policemen, coastguard, divers, and volunteers from charities like Save the Children and from the UN refugee agency,” she said.
“It was such a dramatic situation, I abandoned the bulletin I was working on and joined in. How could I not.?”
Allegedly, the migrants were from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Libya and two were from Pakistan.
There were 530 African migrants aboard the stricken boat, including 30 pregnant women. The boat’s passengers said it had set sail from Libya four days earlier with almost no food or water because the skipper told passengers the crossing would only take a day, Terranova explained.
It was believed on Sunday that all of the boat’s passengers had been rescued in the operation, but sadly the bodies three young African men in their mid-twenties were on Monday found trapped under the boat.