Lampedusa, Italy (CNN) — Shortly after dawn, an open blue wooden fishing boat from Libya limped its way into the port of this tiny island, crammed with at least 166 shivering passengers, all of them apparently migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Italian coast guard officers and rescue workers helped offload the passengers, wrapping an infant in a metallic blanket and taking at least one man away on a stretcher.
The passengers left behind husks of bread, soggy blankets, and fluorescent life jackets, scattered in the hull of the boat.
“I still have the trauma inside me. Because of the cold, the water. Because I’ve never tried this before in my life,” said a 21-year old man from Sierra Leone who only gave his first name Abubakr.
Abubakr said the boat departed from the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Thursday morning and reached this tiny Italian island after a perilous 24-hour journey. The boat was just the first of at least four boats that arrived Friday.