A young migrant, named as Pateh Sabally, has drowned in Venice’s Grand Canal as tourists and locals filmed the apparent suicide on their phones.
Hundreds of people witnessed it and at least three life rings were thrown into the water near the man, but he refused to hold on to them which made people speculate that he wanted to commit suicide. No-one jumped in to help him.
Italian magistrates have opened an investigation into the incident after a video of the scene was posted on the Internet amid claims were shouting racist abuse.
The recording appears to pick up some bystanders yelling at the man. ‘He is stupid. He wants to die,’ says one person.
One person allegedly shouted: ‘Go on, go back home.
In the video, onlookers start to laugh and one man can be heard saying, ‘Let him die at this point.’ Hundreds witnessed the migrant’s death and later saw his dead body being pulled out of the water wrapped in a blue bag and tied to a ladder.
A taxi driver told local media: ‘A young man threw himself into the water and two or three life jackets were thrown from the boat but he refused the help.’
A fellow cabbie added: ‘This is despair. I do not know the story of this guy. They have said he is African. Who knows what he’s been through, how many seas and deserts he has crossed? And he came to die in the most beautiful city in the world.’ Witness Abdus Sattar from Bangladesh confirmed that the drowning had seemed to be a suicide.
Italian media said Sabally had residency papers for Italy.