An investigation has been launched after mobile footage surfaced showing an African refugee drowning, whilst onlookers filmed the ordeal on their mobile phones with some heard mocking the young man.
The man was identified as Pateh Sabally, 22, and The Times of London reported that onlookers passed racist remarks as the man “bobbed up and down in the icy waters”.
The video was released on Italian websites, with a man overheard shouting “Africa” at the refugee whilst imploring passengers on a water bus to throw life belts at the man.
Three lifebelts were thrown, but the man did not reach them – prompting allegations that the man wanted to commit suicide.
“I don’t want to blame anyone but maybe something more could have been done to save him,” the local head of the Italian association of lifeguards, Dino Basso, was quoted saying.
According to Italian media, Sabally had residency papers for Italy.