Migrant boat runs aground on sandbar near Sicilian holiday beach; 6 drown


ROME — Italian coast guard officials say a boat carrying about 100 migrants ran aground on a sandbar off Sicily, and six of them died when they tried to swim to shore.

The boat became stranded early today, 50 feet off a beach popular with tourists and locals in Catania.

It is rare for smugglers’ often unseaworthy vessels filled with migrants to aim for shores near cities, and Coast Guard Capt. Roberto D’Arrico said the boat apparently made a navigational error while trying to reach secluded shores undetected.

Authorities were trying to identify the survivors, some of whom swam to safety and others who were rescued by the coast guard. Italian news reports said they included Egyptians and Syrians.

Stunned vacationers stared at the six body bags on the beach.