By Christopher Scicluna
VALLETTA (Reuters) – A Maltese rescue team found hundreds of dead bodies on a beach in the flood-stricken Libyan city of Derna on Friday, the Malta Civil Protection Department said on Saturday.
“There were probably about 400, but it is difficult to say,” Natalino Bezzina, who is leading the Maltese team, told the Times of Malta newspaper.
Malta deployed a team of 72 rescuers from the army and the civil protection department on Wednesday.
The discovery was made by a four-person team which first found a group of seven bodies, including those of three children, inside a cave by the sea.
The bodies are believed to have been washed out to sea by heavy flooding after rainfall from Storm Daniel caused two dams to collapse, sweeping away a quarter of the coastal city.
Bezzina told Maltese media that a small CPD team came across the cave that was half submerged and found bodies inside.
As they continued the search, they were joined by Libyan dinghies also searching for casualties and survivors. Then they came across a small bay filled with debris and several hundred dead bodies.
(Editing by Ros Russell)