At least 58 migrants, including 28 Pakistanis, died after their overloaded boat sank early on Sunday in stormy seas off Italy’s southern Calabria region, officials said.
According to the Pakistani embassy in Rome — the capital of Italy — besides others, 40 Pakistan were on board the ill-fated boat.
The mission also said that the bodies of 28 Pakistanis have been fished out of the sea by the rescue officials, however, 12 more citizens are still missing.
The Pakistani officials further said that they are in contact with the Italian authorities, volunteers and maritime agencies in this regard.
The embassy added that it is also in touch with the Pakistani community in the Calabria region and providing them with the latest information about the sad incident.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said, “We are closely following the reports about possible presence of Pakistanis in the vessel that has capsized off the coast of Italy.”
Taking to Twitter, she said that the Pakistani embassy in Rome is in the process of ascertaining facts from the Italian authorities.
Earlier, the coastguard service said, "43 bodies" had been found along the coast and "80 people recovered alive, including some who managed to reach the shore after the sinking".
The vessel had set sail from Turkey several days ago with migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and several other countries, and crashed in stormy weather near Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort on the eastern coast of Calabria.
One survivor was arrested on migrant trafficking charges, the Guardia di Finanza customs police said.
Cutro's mayor, Antonio Ceraso, said women and children were among the dead. Exact numbers for how many children had died were not yet available.
Italy is one of the main landing points for migrants trying to enter Europe by sea, with many seeking to travel on to richer northern European nations. The so-called central Mediterranean route is known as one of the world's most dangerous.
The United Nations Missing Migrants Project has registered more than 17,000 deaths and disappearances in the central Mediterranean since 2014. More than 220 have died or disappeared this year, it estimates.