The death toll of migrants whose boat sank off Libya’s shore has reached 117, including 40 women and five children.
The condition of the bodies suggests they were not “decomposed and therefore have drowned within the past 48 hours”, according to a spokesman for Libya’s Red Crescent.
He said the boat that capsized on Wednesday might have been the one carrying the migrants. Most of the migrants are from African countries and the death toll is expected to rise.
The discovery of the bodies off the western city of Zwara is the latest in a string of tragedies that have already claimed more than 1,000 lives in recent weeks as migrants embark on treacherous sea journeys seeking a better life in Europe.
Four bodies were recovered and 340 people rescued yesterday from a sinking migrant boat carrying a “significant number” of people in the Mediterranean Sea south of the Greek island of Crete.
The coast guard said the roughly 25m vessel, which resembled a large fishing boat, had been carrying an undetermined number of people when it was located half-sunk about 75 nautical miles south of Crete in international waters, and within Egypt’s search and rescue area of operation.
Most survivors will be transported to Italy, with others to be taken to Egypt, Malta, and Turkey.
Greece was sending two patrol vessels, a military plane, and three helicopters, while five passing ships were participating in the rescue and one more was on its way.
“The information we have on the number of people on board the vessel is still unclear — we’ve heard that there were 400 or 500 people on board, but we cannot confirm that number,” said coast guard spokesman Nikos Lagadianos.
“There is a huge rescue effort under way.”
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