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It began with blips on a radar screen, 12 miles off the Libyan coast. As the rescuers approached, they found overloaded wooden vessels and rafts that evoked scenes of the slave trade.

Credit Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Aris Messinis, an Agence France-Presse photographer aboard the rescue boat Astral, said it was like nothing he had ever seen.

The passengers — from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries — were found by the Astral on Tuesday, part of a wave of more than 11,000 rescued in the Mediterranean by aid groups and the Italian Coast Guard this week.

Migrants aboard a large wooden boat, which may have held 1,000 people — roughly five times its capacity — waited frantically for help. Some jumped into the water.

 

via Stepping Over the Dead on a Migrant Boat – The New York Times

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