Suffocated on the squalid boats they dreamt would take them to new lives: Dozens of migrants are found dead in a crowded vessel after cruel smugglers crammed 1,000 people - including babies - on board
- Photographer Aris Messinis counted 22 bodies on the boat but said there were more in the hold
- Charity boat was left alone to help the overloaded vessel for several hours before Italian navy came
- There was panic onboard, with people jumping into the water on Tuesday
- Migrants were making the treacherous voyage from Libya to Italy this week
- WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Harrowing photos have captured the horror of the migrant boat journey to Europe - with 22 people found dead inside a crammed vessel.
Photographer Aris Messinis who gained access to the boat said it appeared many of the dead had suffocated.
Cruel smugglers jammed about 1,000 people on three levels inside the boat, as the migrants made the treacherous voyage from Libya to Italy this week.
The photographer counted 22 bodies but said there were more dead in the hold.
He captured the heartbreaking moment survivors were forced to climb over the lifeless men and women laid out underneath the blazing sun on a rescue boat.
Tragic: Dead bodies are pictured on the bottom level of a wooden vessel that was making its way to Europe when people were crushed and suffocated
Panic: Migrants try to pull a baby out of the water as they wait to be rescued in the Mediterranean sea, some 12 nautical miles north of Libya
Another photo shows migrants desperately trying to pull a baby out of the water and back onto the boat as they wait to be rescued.
In total, twenty-eight Europe-bound migrants were found dead on a day of frantic rescues off Libya on Tuesday.
The Italian coastguard - which is coordinating rescue efforts in international waters north of Libya - said 28 bodies had been recovered over the course of 33 operations on Tuesday, while 4,655 migrants had been rescued.
Photographer Mr Messinis was travelling on the Astral, a ship chartered by Spanish NGO ProActiva Open Arms, which rescues migrants at sea.
Heartbreaking: Migrants step over dead bodies that are piled on top of each other, as they are rescued by Spanish NGO ProActiva Open Arms on Tuesday
Killed en route to Europe: Survivors of the journey from Libya were put on the same rescue boat as the dead bodies belonging to people who didn't make it
Awful scenes: Cruel smugglers jammed about 1,000 people on three levels inside the wooden boat and the catastrophic overcrowding caused deaths
Late on Tuesday, the Italian navy took over helping survivors and retrieving bodies, he said.
It was yet another day of drama at sea after more than 6,000 migrants, most of them Africans in packed rubber dinghies, were rescued off Libya on Monday.
Nine bodies were found in those operations, including a pregnant woman.
With numerous rescue boats en route to Italy to unload the huge human cargo collected on Monday, the Astral was left alone to deal with the overloaded wooden boat for several hours.
Desperate: Migrants struggled to stay afloat on minimal lift rafts as they waited to be rescued by members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the Mediterranean Sea
Killed: Members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO evacuate a dead body on a stretcher from the third level of the wooden vessel
Trapped: A dead body is loaded on to a stretcher inside the hull of the overcrowded boat where at least 22 people died
Too late: The Astral, a ship chartered by Spanish NGO ProActiva Open Arms, was left alone to deal with the overloaded wooden boat for several hours
Sorrow: A child wearing a life jacket cries as the group waits to be taken to shore. Families give their life savings in desperate bids to reach the safety of Europe
Waiting for help: The latest people to be rescued will add to a total of some 132,000 migrants who have landed at Italy's southern ports so far this year
It was aided only by lifeboats dropped by a Spanish military plane until the navy arrived at midday.
There was panic onboard, with people jumping into the water, according to the photographer.
The Astral's rescue operations had begun before dawn and lasted until nightfall.
The latest people to be rescued will add to a total of some 132,000 migrants who have landed at Italy's southern ports so far this year, fleeing conflict, poverty or persecution and hoping to start new lives in Europe.
The new arrivals are mostly Africans who plan to try to get to northern Europe but increasingly are obliged to seek asylum or the right to remain in Italy, where reception centres have been strained to bursting point.
The fight to stay alive: A parent lifts their small child above the crowd to avoid suffocation as they wait to be rescued on the overcrowded boat
Not giving up hope: A mother wails as her young child clings on to her onboard an overcrowded vessel on Tuesday
In need: Men struggle for life jackets as panic breaks out onboard, with people jumping into the water
Most watched News videos
- CCTV captures final tragic moments of Mirna Salihin's life
- Mother shaves daughters hair after she 'bullies cancer girl'
- GRAPHIC CONTENT: 'Ghost' rises from body after fatal crash
- Bulls head butt each other then die instantly from brutal blow
- Shocking moment girl gets viciously beaten after starting fight
- Mother releases devastating footage of son's final moments
- Lorry smashes into car leaving driver with severe injuries
- Is this the creepy moment the corpse of a girl OPENS her eyes?
- 'Big fat gypsy wedding' in Romania goes on for FOUR days
- Groom ALREADY tired of marriage life just after 15 minutes
- 'Pascal's a G!' Kim Kardashian speaks well of her bodyguard
- GoPro captures the moment a croc swims amongst swimmers