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Italy Recovers Remains Of 675 Migrants Drowned In 2015 Shipwreck

The remains of up to 675 victims have been recovered from a 2015 migrant shipwreck -- one of the worst disasters in the Mediterranean, Italy's navy said on July 14.

The fishing boat capsized near the coast of Libya in April 2015. Logistical difficulties kept the wreck from being hauled from the sea floor until two weeks ago, when it was towed to Sicily and officials finally gained access to the hull where many of the refugees were trapped.

There they found the remains of 458 people.

Adding those recovered from the nearby seabed, the confirmed death toll now stands at about 675.

"The most shocking thing was that the hold was packed with five people per square meter," said fire department chief Giuseppe Romano, who led a team of 348 firemen to extract the victims from the hold, which prosecutors believe was locked at the time of the shipwreck.

The vessel overturned and sank apparently after people on the deck all rushed to one side to attract attention from a passing merchant ship.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa