Tunisia recovers bodies from migrant boat

2011-06-05 22:06
A capsized ship which was transporting an estimated 850 refugees, lies on a sandbar 35km north of the Tunisian islands of Kerkennah. (Lindsay Mackenzie, AP)

A capsized ship which was transporting an estimated 850 refugees, lies on a sandbar 35km north of the Tunisian islands of Kerkennah. (Lindsay Mackenzie, AP) (Lindsay Mackenzie)

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Tunis - Tunisian authorities endured the grim task on Sunday of attempting to recover the bodies of more than 200 migrants after their boat capsized, coastguard said.

Bad weather has hampered previous search attempts for the victims of Thursday's accident when a boat carrying Libyan migrants bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa hit a sandbank off Tunisia's southern coast.

"We have recovered 26 bodies, there are no more in the wreck," said Tahar Landoulsi, head of the Sfax coastguard.

"Given the sea and the currents, some bodies could be 20km" from the site of the accident off the Kerkennah Isles, he said.

Rescue teams saved 577 passengers when the boat capsized but between 200 and 270 are presumed drowned.

Those rescued were taken to a refugee camp at Choucha near the Tunisian-Libyan border.

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