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Witness: Boat migrants used bottles to stay afloat

October 4, 2013
Associated Press

LAMPEDUSA, Italy (AP) — A Lampedusa resident on an early morning fishing expedition says he was the first to come across migrants scattered in the sea off the tiny Italian island after a fiery shipwreck that killed more than 100.

Vito Fiorino describes finding people floating in the water, some using empty water bottles to stay afloat, many nude and covered in gasoline. Others, he said, didn't have the strength to grab the lifesaver extended to them.

Fiorino told The Associated Press that he alerted the coast guard and neighboring boats when he came upon the scene just before 7 a.m. Thursday. He and his friends brought 47 people onto his 10-meter (32-foot) boat, and that the migrants said they had been in the water for three hours.



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