By Marzia De Giuli
ROME, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Thursday's wreck of a fishing boat carrying about 500 African migrants to the Italian island of Lampedusa could be the worst migrant tragedy reported in the country's waters in recent years.
The death toll from the tragic disaster could well top 200, according to local media reports, with dozens still missing or unaccounted for.
A study by thinktank Fortress Europe said more than 6,200 migrants had died attempting to reach Italy since 1994. Around 300 have lost their life just this year.
Analysts say that all numbers are partial as it is impossible to exactly know how many victims the hazardous crossing has caused.
Earlier this week, at least 13 migrants died off Sicily the Island in southern Italy. The men, whose corpses were recovered on a shore, were reportedly drowned as they tried to swim after their boat ran aground close to coast.
Following is a list of major accidents involving migrants attempting to reach Italy via the perilous sea route over the past few years:
- On July 28, 2013, a total of 31 migrants were reportedly missing during their crossing from Libya to Italy. According to a group of survivors who reached Lampedusa, the dead, including nine women, were thrown into the water as their boat capsized three days after leaving the Libyan coast.
- On Nov. 4, 2012, at least 10 migrants died and 70 others were rescued after their ship sank off between the Libyan coast and Lampedusa. Italy's coast guards recovered the bodies about 56 kilometers from the Libyan coast.
- On March 17, 2012, Italian coast guard found the bodies of five migrants in a packed boat traveling to Italy in Libyan waters after one of the migrants sent an SOS on his satellite phone. Most of the other 52, including women and children, were in bad health conditions, ANSA news agency said.
- On Aug. 1, 2011, Italian police found on board a fishing boat off Lampedusa the lifeless bodies of 25 African young people who had died from asphyxiation in the engine room of the vessel. Another migrant travelling with them had been thrown into the sea after a scuffle during the crossing, according to ANSA news agency.
- On April 13, 2011, a boat crashed into the rocks of Pantelleria island, in southern Italy, instead of following the coast guard patrol boat to the entrance of the island's harbor. Despite the rescue operations, two women died and a man was lost at sea.
On the same day, Rome-based La Repubblica newspaper reported that two boats transporting around 500 migrants were still missing at sea, some 20 days after their departure from Libya towards Lampedusa. Both had asked for help to the Eritrean community in Rome, but never arrived at their destination, nor returned to Libya.
- On April 7, 2011, a ship capsized at sea during rescue operations because of the stormy sea, close to Lampedusa. At least 213 people were lost at sea, including many women and children, according to La Repubblica newspaper.
- On Aug. 20, 2009, five Eritreans rescued on a raft 12 miles (19 km) from Lampedusa said they spent 20 days adrift. They said 75 migrants had died in the crossing, and their bodies were thrown into the sea, ANSA news agency reported.
- On July 27, 2008, Corriere della Sera said two small migrants aged two and four were found dead at sea in the Sicilian waters.
On Oct. 28, 2007, a 20-meter ship broke into three pieces after it collided with shallow waters off the Calabrian region in southern Italy. Some 150 African migrants plunged into the sea and seven bodies were then recovered.
- On Aug. 29, 2007, a boat was rescued adrift for four days off Lampedusa. According to Il Messaggero newspaper, two pregnant women died in the crossing. One day earlier, ANSA news agency said a man wearing a life jacket was rescued, the only survivor of a boat which capsized after breaking the engine with 45 people on board, whose bodies were never found.
- On Aug. 15, 2007, a patrol aircraft discerned 14 corpses in the waters some 88 kilometers south of Lampedusa, Corriere della Sera newspaper wrote.
- On Aug. 30, 2006, ANSA news agency said a boat was rescued off Lampedusa. According to the 13 survivors, 10 people died on the journey and their bodies were thrown into the sea. A few days earlier, a couple of African parents arrived in Lampedusa said their 18-month-old daughter and two other children had died during the crossing.
- On Aug. 19, 2006, a boat sank off Lampedusa as it rammed into a wrong maneuver from a navy boat which came to the rescue. A total of 10 bodies were recovered and the 40 missing were never found, including 10 children, according to La Repubblica newspaper.
- On Nov. 25, 2005, the bodies of 11 African migrants were recovered off the Sicilian southern coast, just a few days after another shipwreck in the same area caused nine dead and 40 missing, local media said.
- On March 24, 2005, La Repubblica newspaper said that a boat transporting around 100 African migrants was reported missing off Lampedusa, after the alarm launched by a local fisherman was ignored by police.
- On Aug. 8, 2004, a total of 28 migrants were killed from starvation, frostbite, dehydration during their crossing to Sicily on a boat which departed from the African coast. The bodies were thrown into the sea by fellow travelers, according to reports.
- On Sept. 15, 2002, a boat transporting African migrants sank close to the Sicilian southern coast. A total of 37 corpses were recovered and 92 people were rescued. A few days later, a human trafficker abandoned at sea close to a Sicilian shore about 60 passengers, 14 of which were found drowned.
- On Dec. 25, 1996, a boat carrying at least 283 Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan migrants sank off the Sicilian coast. Eleven survivors were rescued by a vessel travelling to Greece, where they reported the tragedy, and neither the wreckage nor the bodies were ever found.