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Venice Racists laugh as African man drowns in Grand Canal

People laughed and mocked an African man as he drowned in the Grand Canal in Venice.

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The African immigrant in Grand Canal in Venice play

The African immigrant in Grand Canal in Venice


An African refugee drowned in the Grand Canal in Venice as tourists looked on.

Pateh Sabally, 22, a Gambian, drowned in the city's canal as people looked on and filmed with their phones. It was alleged that the onlookers also filmed Sabally drowning and made racist comments.

On some Italian websites, a video of a man screaming “Go on, go back home” and another person saying "Africa" was posted.

Pateh Sabally play

Pateh Sabally



In the video onlookers can be heard laughing with one man saying "Let him die at this point." A current finally caught Sabally before police divers could come to the scene.

When this story was reported by The Times, people made racist comments about the drowned African. You can read some of the tweets below;

Racist comments play

Racist comments

(Linda Ikeji)


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

Pateh Sabally is said to have sailed from Africa in 2015 and landed in Pozallo, an Italian sea after his boat was interecepted.

He was issued a permit to stay in Italy but he opted to travel to Switzerland so that he could be close to his family in Mexico. Swiss authorities however sent him back to Italy.

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