Mapping Fatal Migration Incidents in the Mediterranean

The Migrants' Files project was launched in 2013 by a group of European journalists and researchers who joined forces to quantify the deaths of immigrants seeking refuge in Europe and identify the locations of these tragedies on maps.* Note: This is an ongoing project. The data listed here is only a partial listing of reported incidents and should not be viewed as definitive.

The blue waters of the Mediterranean have become a bloodbath for desperate immigrants seeking refuge in the European Union. Over the past 15 years, the number of accidents has soared. Fleeing strife in their home countries, men, women and children from dozens of countries have contracted with smugglers for a dangerous passage to safety in Southern Europe. The largest number come from Syria and Eritrea. 

The smugglers often charge the migrants many thousands of dollars and load the boats to the point of bursting. Any rough weather can result in distress calls or capsize. The smugglers provide the distress number of the Italian and Maltese Navies as a tenuous lifeline and fallback to the migrants. This has overwhelmed the naval resources of these two countries, who respond several times per week (at a minimum) to distress calls. Sometimes the navies contact merchant vessels located nearby. Far too often, help does not arrive before many migrants die. This Silk contains data telling the story of the migrants' flight and the horrific toll exacted. 

Dead and Missing Migrants: 2015 Events

Page Title
Dead and Missing
1 Migrant Dies While Crossing the HighwayA 20 years old guy hitted by a car while crossing the highway150.9247443, 1.8000638
2 Albanians jump ship on Feb 26, 2015 (id: 77628)Two men jump ship as they are being deported from the UK to Belgium.251.924,1.44
2 Boats Carrying 400 People Send Distress Calls45033.349987,13.58879
3 people die after boat sinks, 2 May 2015Three people were killed Saturday when a boat carrying migrants sunk off the coast of Beheira governorate’s Edku city.331.510077,30.21185
4 dead off the Canary Islands on March 9, 2015 (id: 77186)Four dead and 8 missing on a 30-person boat.1229.01,-12.79
5 dead off Murcia on Jan 5 2015 (id: 77409)A patera capsized. Refugees and migrants from another boat were able to rescue six people.636.4,-0.9
5 die on March 17, 2015 (id: 77230)At least five people were killed when a boat carrying migrants sank near the southwestern province of Muğla early on March 17.536.9,27.4
5 Migrants Drowned in MediterraneanFive African migrants drowned in the Mediterranean after jumping from their boat which was intercepted by the Egyptian coastguard, reported security officials.533.442380, 25.610113
5 Tunisian Migrants Died Trying to Reach the Italian Island LampedusaThe bodies of five Tunisian migrants trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa were recovered off Tunisia535.696508, 11.107726
7 dead in Symi on Apr 7 2015 (id: 78096)Seven persons were found dead while another nine were rescued by members of the Turkish coast guard, after they were spotted east of the Greek island Symi, near Rhodes.1136.6,27.9
8 dead off Morocco on 30 January 2015 (id: 76102)A boat carrying illegal migrants sank off the Mediterranean shore near the Spanish enclave of Melillla.835.235482,-2.873268
9 dead in shipwreck off Libya on Apr 12 2015 (id: 78172)933.4,15.3
12 killed in car chase in Libya on 20 January 2014 (id: 75619)A people smuggler was carrying 12 Nigerien illegal immigrants from Tarhuna to Tripoli when a military patrol pursued his vehicle. During the pursuit, two military vehicles hit the smuggler's car, causing a tragic accident, in which the smugglers, the 12 immigrants and four troops were killed.1232.5,13.3
12 thrown overboard on April 14 (id: 78476)1234.7,15.5
17 Bodies Found on Three Inflatable Dinghies17 bodies were found on three inflatable dinghies, from which more than 300 other migrants were rescued alive1734.542858, 13.704729
20 missing off Malta on 22 January 2015 (id: 75654)A Maltese patrol boat rescued about 80 migrants, who claimed 20 had died since leaving from Tripoli. A man died in a Maltese hospital after disembarking.2135.4,14
29 die of hypothermia off Lampedusa on 9 February 2015 (id: 76304)More than 20 died of hypothermia. Another 15 in critical condition.2935.4,12.6
40 Migrants Reported Dead After Dinghy Burst at Sea on May 5 2015The Save the Children aid group said on Tuesday rescued migrants disembarking in Sicily had told its personnel there that around 40 of their fellow travelers had drowned during the journey.4037.2,11.199903
41 feared dead on April 16 2015 (id: 78478)4136.2,12.5
50 dead on March 4, 2015 (id: 76897)A boat transporting migrants has capsized off Sicily, killing at least ten people.5036.1,15.2
200 Migrants Leaves 3 Dead in Rhodes on April 20, 2015 (ID: 78862)The boat hit a reef at Zephyros beach in Rhodes and the migrants started to flee to the shore, jumping into the sea, withor help. According to preliminary information released by the authorities, the boat sailed from the coast of Turkey. The smuggler abandoned the migrants in the middle of the sea, however, they still managed to reach Rhodes.3Rhodes, Greece
300 die in stormy sea in early February 2015 (id: 76382)300 migrants and refugees are thought to be dead by UN agencies based on survivors' testimonies.30033.7,13.6
800 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck on April 19, 2015800 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck80033.867198,12.279102
A Youg Afghan Has Been Found Dead in a TruckA youg afghan has been found dead in a truck145.7283752, 5.0131031
Death of Mohamed Camara (id: 76884)21-year-old Mohamed Camara died on February 20 due to untreated diabetes1
Death of Sayed Mehdi Achmpari (id: 76888)On February 10, Afghan refugee Sayed Mehdi Achmpari died from HIV after being denied treatment inside the camp.138.1260386,23.7367192
Event Between Budapest, and Vienna on Jul 13, 2015One migrant died falling from a truck.147.7, 17.6
Event Between Egypt and Sicily on Jul 20, 2015Diabetic child dies on migrant boat after traffickers throw her insulin overboard132.23, 26.64
Event Between Italy and Libya on Jul 7, 2015The migrants fell into the water and most were rescued by a commercial boat and then by a German navy ship, the Holstein, which brought a total of 283 people to safety.One 22-year-old Ghanaian cited by the newspaper claimed that some 30 of his fellow travellers had died.3034, 14
Event Between Libya and Sicily on Aug 25, 2015A 15 year old Somalian died on the boat of MSF taking him to Italy135, 14
Event Between Libya and Sicily on Jun 23, 2015One migrant was shot during the crossing of the Mediterrannean sea134, 14
Event Between Mellila, Spain and Almeria, Spain on Aug 3, 2015A 27 year old Moroccan has been found axphyxiated in a luggage on a ferry between Mellila and Almeria136.1, -2.7
Event in Arlit, Niger on Jun 14, 2015A pickup truck got lost in the desert outside of Arlit, Niger1819.213588, 6.800537
Event in Arlit, Niger on Jun 24, 201517 men and 1 woman were found in the desert, shortly after they left Arlit for Algeria1818.733, 7.383
Event in Calais, France on Jul 20, 2015One migrant burned while trying to get into the Eurostar tunnel150.954468, 1.862801
Event in Calais, France on Jul 23, 2015One migrant drowned while trying to get into the Eurostar Tunnel150.954468, 1.862801
Event in Calais, France on Jul 29, 2015A migrant got run over by a truck in the Eurotunnel150.954468, 1.862801
Event in Calais, France on Jul 7, 2015One migrant fall from a train and broke his neck.150.954468, 1.862801
Event in Calais, France on Jun 29, 2015On the night of the 29th June Zebiba a 23 year old women from Eritrea was found dead on the side of the A16 between Calais and Marck.150.95, 1.95
Event in Canakkale, Turkey on Aug 24, 2015Turkey's coast guard recovered three bodies and rescued 73 refugees from Syria and Afghanistan after a fishing boat that would have taken them to Lesbos capsized about off Turkey's Aegean coast at Canakkale, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.340.1, 26.4
Event in Catania, Italy on Aug 15, 201549 people were found dead, probably from suffocation, on an overcrowded fishing boat.4937, 16.4
Event in Ceuta, Spain on Aug 2, 20154 men have been found dead at sea, trying to get to Ceuta435.9, -5.3
Event in Dirkou, Niger on Jun 16, 2015Bodys in an advanced state of decomposition were found in the Sahara3019.0086, 12.88579
Event in Farmakonisi, Greece on Jul 7, 2015A ship sunk between Turkey and Greece. 20 people got saved, 15 are missing, 1 dead.1637.291, 27.08
Event in Folkestone, United Kingdom on Jul 23, 2015Migrant found dead in a Eurostar151.081398, 1.169456
Event in Folkestone, United Kingdom on Jul 24, 2015Teen migrant found dead on the roof of an Eurostar151.081398, 1.169456
Event in Italy on Aug 16, 2015Rescuers found one migrant dead and saved 354 on a fishing boat in rough seas137.7, 17.2
Event in Italy on Aug 2, 2015About 1,800 migrants have been rescued from seven overcrowded vessels in the Mediterranean, while five corpses were found on a rubber boat carrying 212 others, according to the Italian coastguard. The bodies were found on board at the time of the rescue, a coastguard spokeswoman said on Sunday. The cause of death was not yet known.536.3, 18.9
Event in Kos, Greece on Aug 16, 2015Red Cross found a 16 year old Syrian dead on a boat in Kos131.1, 27.1
Event in Kos, Greece on Aug 18, 2015A boat overloaded with 31 Syrians sank on Tuesday, and six, including an infant, drowned.631.1, 27
Event in Lampedusa, Italy on Jul 9, 201512 migrants drowned in the sea and 500 saved near Lampedusa1235.5059, 12.6073
Event in Lesbos, Greece on Aug 24, 2015Greece's coast guard recovered the bodies of two men, rescued six people and was searching for at least five more missing off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos739.1, 26.2
Event in Libya on Aug 26, 201552 found dead' in hold of migrant boat off Libya5235, 17
Event in Mediterranean Sea on Jun 15, 2015A rubber boat capsized during a rescue operation. 3 men died.334, 14
Event in Paris, France on Jul 29, 2015A migrant got electrocuted while trying to get on the top of a train going to the UK148.858, 2.2946
Event in Parndorf, Austria on Aug 27, 2015Up to 70 people, presumed to be asylum-seekers, have been found dead in the back of a lorry in Austria.7048, 16.8
Event in Röszke, Hungary on Jul 15, 2015One migrant died trying to escape from a police control.146.1861871, 20.0312352
Event in Salou, Spain on Aug 11, 2015A Senegalese man plunged to his death during a police raid141.07824, 1.13346
Event in Samos, Greece on Aug 19, 2015Greece's coast guard rescued hundreds of migrants in more than a dozen search-and-rescue operations, including one in which a toddler found unconscious in an overcrowded dinghy died137.7, 26.8
Event in Tanger, Tunisia on Jul 1, 2015A migrant died while being evacuated from a squat135.766667, -5.8
Event in Tripoli, Libya on Jul 28, 2015Fourteen migrant bodies recovered in the continuing exodus from north Africa1434.4, 14.1
Event in Zuwara, Libya on Aug 27, 2015Up to 200 bodies have been discovered floating off the coast of Libya20033, 12.2
Event in Zuwara, Libya on Aug 6, 2015A boat capsized off the coast of Libya. Between 600 and 700 were onboard. Only around 400 were rescued and 25 bodies were found22533.52, 12.69
Fourteen migrants were killed when they were struck by a train on April 24, 2015Fourteen migrants were killed when they were struck by a train in a narrow gorge in Macedonia late on Thursday, part of a growing tide of people trying to get to western Europe via the Balkans instead of crossing the treacherous Mediterranean.1441.713846,21.770409
Hundreds of migrants rescued and 10 dead in sea off Libya, 3 May 2015Hundreds of migrants were rescued from at least 16 boats off Libya's coast Sunday, but at least 10 bodies were recovered in the rescue operations involving the Italian Coast Guard.1033.06503,13.413009
Italian Navy Finds 11 Dead MigrantsThe Italian navy found 11 dead migrants on boats headed across the Mediterranean to Europe1133.641882, 12.847345
Migrant dies in Greece after hiding in bus undercarriage on April 22, 2015The incident took place on Tuesday night on a ferry linking Igoumenitsa in northwest Greece with Bari across the Adriatic Sea in southeast Italy, Ana said. As the bus drove onto the ferry ramp, the 21-year-old migrant was struck and fatally injured by the axle.139.50615,20.265534
Migrants commits suicide at Thessaloniki police station (id: 76892)140.634676,22.943048
One dead on April 11, 2015 (id: 78114)Migrants were picked up by three merchant vessels and an Italian navy ship. In all 978 people were rescued, one person had died before help arrived.134.9,15
Severely burnt migrants found stranded in the Mediterranean on April 17, 2015Just under 70 migrants, many suffering from severe burns, were picked up by Italian coastguards in the Mediterranean sea between northern Libya and Italy on Friday, after spending two days stranded on a half-inflated dinghy. One 25-year old woman died during the journey.1LibyaItaly
Ship capsizes off Libya on Apr 15 2015 (id: 78306)About 400 migrants are feared died in an attempt to reach Italy from Libya when their boat capsized, survivors said.40035,15.1
Shipwreck off Kafr al-Sheikh on April 10, 2015 (id: 78112)A ship carrying 200 migrants capsized near Egypt's Mediterranean coast.132,30.6
Suicide at Amygdaleza camp (id: 76894)140.634676,22.943048

Select values from the filters to customize the visualization. Reset them to see the overall statistics. Click "Explore" to transform this map into another type of chart, change the variables plotted, add dynamic filters. Click on each event for more information.

The Migrants' Files project scrupulously collects, aggregates and publishes detailed information to about tragic events which took place primarily on migration routes across the Mediterranean Sea, into Europe. The dataset includes events from 2000 onward.

The Silk team imported the Events data from The Migrants' Files project and cleaned/enhance the original information so that users and journalists can easily query the information, explore patterns ad visualize the data interactively. (Read here about our data manipulations)

Silk allows anyone to share this information in a few clicks on social media, or to embed charts, maps and other visualizations in online media.

The news of dead migrants usually reaches big media outlets intermittently, around big incidents or in times of important policy decisions. The following table helps to put the full impact of these tragedies into perspective, allowing you to sift through the entire database interactively.

Most Recent Events

Select values from the filters to customize the visualization. Reset them to see the overall statistics. Click on the headings to sort ascending/descending on a variable. Click "Explore" to transform this table into another type of chart, change the variables plotted, add dynamic filters, or expand the table to include older events as well. Click on each event for more information.

The journey itself isn't the only danger migrants face. Since 2000, The Migrants' Files project has reported at least 195 fatal events in which migrants were under the supervision of national authorities - either in detention centers or refugee camps - at the moment of their death. These includes in large parts suicides, homicides (in 12 cases caused by the police violence) or deaths caused by lack of medical treatment (44 cases).

Number of Events datacards with Died in Detention Center/Refugee Camp as Type of Death grouped by Type of Death

Migrants Deaths in Detention Centers / Refugee Camps: Latest 10 Events

Select values from the filters to customize the visualization. Reset them to see the overall statistics. Click on the headings to sort ascending/descending on a variable. Click "Explore" to transform this table into another type of chart, change the variables plotted, add dynamic filters, or expand the table to include older events as well. Click on each event for more information.

Of these events, almost 20% happened the United Kingdom, followed by Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Events datacards with Died in Detention Center/Refugee Camp as Type of Death grouped by Location - Country

As most of the events are related to boat journey, it's not surprising that drowning is by far the most common death for migrants coming to Europe. Filtering for other typologies of events shows other trends. For example, deaths in minefields are the third most common cause of death for events occurred in Greece. While in The Netherlands and Germany, the top three events types are deaths in detention centers/refugee camps; suicides and lack of medical care.

Number of Events datacards grouped by Type of Death

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*About the Migrants Files:

"The Migrants' Files" is a European investigation about deaths and missing migrants in the Mediterranean sea, published on Monday, March 31, 2014 on many media throughout Europe.

The Migrants’ Files is a project by data journalism agencies Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm and Dataninja; media outlets Neue Zürcher Zeitung, El Confidencial, Sydsvenskan and Radiobubble as well as freelance journalists Jean-Marc Manach and Jacopo Ottaviani. The project is partially financed by

The data for The Migrants’ Files draw on previous work by United for Intercultural Action (, Gabriele Del Grande's Fortress Europe and Puls, as well as additional research.

Sixteen students of the Laboratory of Data Journalism at the University of Bologna have contributed to the project checking the details of a sample of incidents, supervised by Prof. Carlo Gubitosa.

Media partners supporting the journalism consortium’s work are L’Espresso, Le Monde Diplomatique. The data was released under a Creative Commons License.