How smugglers bring desperate migrants across the Mediterranean, only for thousands to die at sea

September 18, 2014 2:52 AM

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Sometimes one of the migrants captains the boat. Whoever volunteers crosses for free. No experience required. They give him a compass, or if he’s lucky, a GPS and satellite phone. Sometimes there’s not enough fuel to make it all the way across. Other times, the smugglers take the vessel out to sea before jumping ship in a rubber boat, assuming the migrants will be rescued.

It might be the deadliest border crossing on earth. Rickety boats traversing the Mediterranean Sea carry men, women and children, and even tiny newborns fleeing war, persecution and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

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