At least 33 people have died in an accident involving a boat with migrants onboard off the southern Italian coast, media reports said on Sunday.
The bodies were discovered on the beach in Cutro in the province of Crotone in Calabria and in the sea, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Sunday morning, citing the police.
The number of victims could still rise significantly because many bodies have not yet been recovered from the sea, the report said.
According to initial information, the migrants were on a fishing boat, which broke apart in heavy seas, after which some of the people onboard drowned.
There was no information on the nationality of the victims or their port of departure.
About 50 survivors were also discovered on the beach, ANSA reported.
They were also on the boat that crashed.
Each year many people make the dangerous crossing from Northern Africa via the Mediterranean to the European Union, heading for Italy and Malta, hoping for a better life in Europe.
The boats are often overcrowded and unsafe, meaning there are often serious accidents.
According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, 13,067 migrants have entered the country by sea this year up to and including Thursday, far more than twice as many as in the same period last year, when there were 5,273.
A new law of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, which was passed by the Senate last week, has made the work of civilian sea rescuers more difficult.
The majority of migrants, however, arrive in Italy on their own ships and boats. (dpa/NAN)