WATCH: Gambian drowns in Italy, as onlookers film, laugh, make racist comments (GRAPHIC)

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Cape Town – Footage of a Gambian man drowning in Italy while onlookers watch, jeer, film and racially insult him, has gone viral on social media.

According to Independent UK, an investigation has since been opened after the African refugee drowned in Venice's Great Canal, as onlookers watched from nearby boats and filmed him with their phones.

Footage shows Pateh Sabally, 22, waving in the middle of the canal.

Heartless onlookers can be heard in the video shouting: "He is stupid. He wants to die."

"Go on, go back home," he says.

No one jumps to help him.

Watch the video below.

The Sun says at least three life rings were thrown into the water near him, but Sabally did not appear to reach for them, raising speculation he wanted to kill himself.

More than 181 000 migrants arrived in Italy by boat in 2016, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, an increase of almost 18% compared with 2015, reports say.

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