An Italian prosecutor has ordered a probe into the sinking of a migrant boat in the Mediterranean following claims that a US navy ship which rescued 42 survivors may have ignored them at first.
According to La Repubblica newspaper, the prosecutor for the city of Raguse in Sicily had asked investigators to "look deeper" into claims by survivors that the USS Trenton had sailed past their rubber dinghy when it was still afloat on June 12.
Some survivers told La Repubblica that they had whistled, shouted, and waved bright-coloured clothing in an attempt to draw the attention of the crew of the navy ship, which was "so close they could see its flag."
The survivors could not say for certain whether they had been spotted.
The rubber boat tried for more than an hour to follow the Trenton, but the naval vessel moved further and further away before disappearing out of sight, they said.
The dinghy capsized off the coast of Libya with about 118 people on board. It was the same navy ship, the USS Trenton, which later saved 42 of those in the water, survivors have claimed.
Some 76 people are believed to have drowned, including 15 women and a baby, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Initial testimony from survivors finally delivered to Sicily a week after their rescue, did not give rise to any suspicion that the Trenton had refused the migrants help, La Repubblica quoted prosecutor Fabio D'Anna as saying.
But survivor testimony since then has prompted D'Anna to instruct police investigators to look into this version of events.
The prosecutor could not be reached on Wednesday, and an official from his office declined to comment.
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