Dozens missing in new shipwreck off Libya: rescuers

Dozens of migrants were missing Friday after an overloaded fishing boat sank off the coast of Libya, the third major tragedy in the Mediterranean in as many days, Italian rescuers said.

Italian coastguards sent in rescue ships after a call for help that spoke of 350 people in the water, while the Italian navy said it had saved 130 people and was still searching for others.

The coastguard, which coordinates rescue operations in the area, was not able to immediately provide further information about the latest incident.

But it said about 1,900 people were saved on Friday from 16 vessels in distress, adding to an estimated 10,000 people already rescued near the Libyan coast in the past four days.

A bout of good weather as summer arrives has kicked off a fresh stream of boats attempting to make the perilous crossing from Libya to Italy.

About 40,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in the country’s southern ports so far this year.

But in one of the worst tragedies in the Mediterranean in recent months, a fishing trawler carrying some 650 people capsized off the coast of Libya on Wednesday.

The Italian navy, which captured the tragedy in a horrifying video that shows the boat roll over and dump its passengers into the water, was able to rescue about 560 people.

But five people died and 100 are still feared missing, according to many survivors who reported having lost a loved one or a close passenger.

On Thursday, the EU’s naval force said up to 30 migrants were believed to have died after another ship flipped over off Libya.

“Three sinkings in three days, it’s very worrying,” said Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency in Rome.

In the single deadliest migrant boat sinking since the crisis began, some 700 people died in April last year, also off the coast of the troubled north African country.

AFP

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