2 migrant boats capsize with hundreds on board – report

2015-08-28 07:40

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London (dpa) - Two boats carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast, with hundreds feared dead, a news report said on Friday.

More than 100 bodies had been taken to hospital in the nearest town of Zuwara on the western Libyan coast, the BBC reported, citing a local resident, with hundreds more missing.

The coast guard managed to rescue 201 people, but many more were apparently trapped in the hold of the larger vessel, the report said.

The first boat, with around 50 people, signalled for help on Thursday. The second one was carrying around 400 passengers when it sank later, it said.

The bodies taken to hospital were of migrants from Syria, Bangladesh and southern African countries, the resident reportedly told the BBC.

On Wednesday, around 17 migrants drowned after their boat capsized off the same coast. The coast guard said 20 people were saved, mostly from Nigeria and Ghana.

The same day, around 30 bodies were recovered from the hull of a boat carrying some 400 migrants, intercepted 50km north of Libya, according to the Italian coast guard.

The victims were apparently asphyxiated by the engine. The BBC put the number of bodies found at 51.

So far this year, more than 2 000 migrants have died trying to cross the sea to Europe, the United Nations said, with tens of thousands reaching Italy and Greece.

Unprecedented numbers of refugees are braving the crossing as they flee war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East as well as Africa and Asia.

Read more on:    libya  |  migrants  |  north africa

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