Up To 200 Drowned As Migrant Boat Sinks Off Libya

AP Photo
The Associated Press

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died.

A security official in the western town of Zuwara, from where the overcrowded boat had set off, said there had around 400 people on board. Many appeared to have been trapped in the hold when it capsized.

By late in the evening, the Libyan coast guard rescued around 201, of which 147 were brought to a detention facility for illegal migrants in Sabratha, west of Tripoli, the official said, asking not to be named.

Another local official and a journalist based in Zuwara confirmed the sinking but also had no information on casualties.

The migrants on board had been from sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco and Bangladesh, the security official said.

The Italian coast guard, which has been coordinating rescue operations with the European Union off the Libyan coast, could not immediately confirm a sinking.

Libya’s coast guard has very limited capabilities, relying on small inflatables, tug boats and fishing vessels.

Read more at Reuters

.