By: Pramod Thomas
FORMER Pakistan women’s hockey player Shahida Raza was among at least 67 people killed on the weekend in a migrant shipwreck off the coast of Italy, officials in her home province said.
The vessel, which authorities believe was carrying up to 200 migrants, sank in rough seas before dawn on Sunday near Steccato di Cutro, a seaside resort in southern Italy. Sixteen children were among the dead.
Those on board were mostly from Afghanistan but also from Pakistan, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Iran and Somalia, Italian authorities said.
“Pakistani authorities have informed Raza’s family that the Pakistani national team hockey player perished in the boating accident off the coast of Italy,” Qadir Ali Nayel, a legislator from Balochistan province, told Reuters late on Wednesday.
Raza was 27 and from the southwestern province. She also played soccer in domestic competitions.
The chief minister of Balochistan expressed grief over Raza’s death saying in a statement she had brought honour to the province and the country.
On Wednesday (1) survivors of the shipwreck wept over their dead, as relatives of some of the 67 people who drowned arrived from other countries to claim their loved ones.
The boat broke up just off the shore in violent weather, after possibly hitting a sandbank.
It was one of the most tragic incidents in the central Mediterranean, which tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers cross each year hoping to find a new life in Europe.
(With inputs from agencies)