Migrant shipwreck victims mourned, police make arrests

STORY: "I saw my aunt and two daughters."

Alan has just identified the bodies of his loved ones in the Italian city of Crotone on Tuesday (February 28).

His aunt was found dead, along with three of her children after a migrant boat broke up in stormy seas.

A fourth child was still missing, while her husband survived the incident.

The search for victims continued around the nearby beach of Steccato di Cutro, where the wooden vessel sank after hitting rocks early on Sunday (February 26).

The shipwreck left at least 64 dead, including about 14 children, while 80 people have survived, but police believe up to 200 migrants could have been onboard the boat.

Police have said that patrol boats were sent to intercept the migrants, but severe weather forced them to return to port.

Some relatives, like Teymoori Mohammad, are questioning whether rescuers had done enough to pick up those on board and if they had arrived too late.

"I don't know, are the people telling about human rights...because they have black eyes, or black hairs? Weren't they human?"

Police officers said on Tuesday they have arrested three people who they believed have trafficked those migrants - a Turkish man and two Pakistani nationals they say had sailed the boat from Turkey to Italy despite the terrible weather.

One of the Pakistanis was a minor, a judicial source said.

They were identified by survivors as "the main culprits of the tragedy".

Police said initial investigations show the alleged traffickers asked the migrants for over $8,400 each for the deadly journey.

The tragedy has fuelled a debate on migration in Europe and Italy.

The recently elected right-wing government's tough new laws there for migrant rescue charities have drawn criticism from the United Nations and others.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in an interview on Monday that she had written to European Union institutions calling for immediate action by the bloc to stop migrant boat trips so as to prevent more deaths.