More than 30 people have died following the shipwreck of a boat carrying migrants in the Calabria region in southern Italy.
Dozens of bodies were found washed up on the shores of Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort in the province of Crotone, the Italian news agency ANSA said. More bodies were spotted in the water.
A spokesman for the Italian firefighters’ service, Danilo Maida, told Reuters the death toll “has surpassed 30”.
The Adnkronos news agency said that more than 100 people were aboard the ship, which is understood to have been carrying people from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Another Italian news agency, AGI, said a baby and several children were among the dead after the vessel crashed against rocks in rough seas and run aground by the coast.
Firefighters are still looking for more survivors at sea and more than 40 have been rescued but conditions are harsh, making the search difficult, the spokesman added.
The president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Francesco Rocca, tweeted: “Shocking and sad news from Calabria, in Southern Italy: reports talk about several dead people, including children, after a migrant shipwreck.
“Italian Red Cross volunteers are responding. No one should risk his/her life to find a safe place where to stay.”
UN refugee agency representative for Italy Chiara Cardoletti said: “Another shipwreck. More suffering. Strengthening sea rescue is the only way to prevent these tragedies.”
Italy is one of the main landing points for migrants trying to enter Europe by sea. The so-called central Mediterranean route is known as one of the world’s most dangerous.
According to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, 20,333 people have died or gone missing in the central Mediterranean since 2014.
Additional reporting by Reuters
This story is being updated