African refugee drowns in Venice as tourists film on phones while laughing and making racist remarks

No one jumped in to help the man

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 26 January 2017 11:10 GMT
African refugee drowns in Venice as tourists laugh and film on phones

An investigation has been opened after an African refugee drowned in Venice's Grand Canal as onlookers watched from nearby boats and filmed him with their phones.

Footage shows the man, named as 22-year-old Gambian Pateh Sabally, flailing in the middle of the canal.

At least three life rings were thrown into the water near him, but he did not appear to reach for them, raising speculation he wanted to kill himself.

No one jumped in to help him.

In the video, some bystanders can be heard yelling at the man.

"He is stupid. He wants to die," one person says.

"Go on, go back home," another shouted, The Times reports.

One man is allegedly heard to say: "Let him die at this point."

“I don’t want to blame anyone but maybe something more could have been done to save him,” said Dino Basso, the local head of the Italian association of lifeguards.

Italian media said Mr Sabally had residency papers for Italy and had sailed from Africa two years ago.

More than 181,000 migrants arrived in Italy by boat in 2016, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, an increase of almost 18 per cent compared with 2015.

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