ROME - Six migrants drowned off the Italian island of Sicily on Saturday after attempting a dangerous passage from Africa in a fishing boat, according to the Italian coastguard.
The 18-meter-long boat carrying some 120 migrants ran aground at dawn some 40 meters (132 feet) from a beach near the city of Catania, its coastguard captain Roberto D'Arrigo said.
While most of the passengers reached the shore, the six who drowned were apparently unable to swim.
The 120 migrants were mainly from Syria and Egypt, D'Arrigo told Sky Italia television, with an adolescent boy among the victims, who were all under age 30. Egypt has suffered prolonged political and economic turmoil. Syria is shattered by civil war.
D'Arrigo said he did not believe there were other victims in what he described as an "absolutely anomalous event".