Witness: Boat migrants used bottles to stay afloat
LAMPEDUSA, Italy (AP) - Survivors of a fiery shipwreck off a tiny Italian island that killed more than 100 African migrants looking for a better life in Europe clung to empty water bottles to keep from drowning, were semi-nude and covered in gasoline, a witness said on Friday.
Lampedusa resident Vito Fiorino said he was the first to come across dozens of migrants scattered in the sea. Some did not have the strength to grab the lifesaver thrown to them and the migrants said they fought to stay alive for three hours, Mr Fiorino said.
"It was a scene from a film, something you hope never to see in life," he said.
Mr Fiorino said he alerted the coast guard and neighboring boats when he came upon the scene just before 7am on Thursday. He and his friends brought 47 people onto his 10m boat.