Crowded migrant boat capsizes off Italy, killing at least 59

A boat crowded with migrants from Afghanistan, Iran and other countries has capsized off the coast of Italy, killing at least 59 people.

Italian authorities and media say the wooden vessel crashed against rocks in bad weather and capsized off the coast of the southern Italian province of Calabria on Sunday. It had set sail from Turkey several days earlier.

Video footage released by the Italian coast guard shows wreckage from the wooden boat washing up on the beach.

The confirmed dead include a baby aged only a few months. Search and rescue operations continue.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni blamed human traffickers, saying, "It is criminal to launch a boat just 20 meters long with 200 people on board in adverse weather." She pledged to hold those involved in trafficking accountable.

The United Nations says around 2,000 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean annually for the past several years.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, urged countries to agree on effective measures to avoid more tragedies.