Tunisia searches for survivors of deadly shipwreck

2018-06-04 18:18
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunisia's navy scoured choppy waters on Monday for survivors and victims of the Mediterranean's worst shipwreck in months, with the UN migration agency warning more than 100 people may have been killed.

A total of 68 survivors were rescued on Sunday off the coast of Sfax in southern Tunisia, while 48 bodies were recovered according to Tunisia's defence ministry.

A survivor told AFP that more than 180 people were crammed onto the boat - double its capacity - when it started taking on water and sank.

"The search operation restarted at 04:00 GMT with the help of nine navy units, one helicopter and divers," Mohammed Salah Sagaama, commander of Sfax's naval base, told AFP.

"Up until 10:00 GMT, no more bodies have been recovered," he added, saying the search efforts were hampered by strong winds and limited visibility.

So far 10 Tunisians have been identified among the victims and 14 people from other African nations.

Tunisia, like other North African nations, is a gateway for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

In March, 120 mainly Tunisian migrants were rescued by the navy trying to reach Italy.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

A spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration on Monday said the death toll from the latest disaster could more than double.

"According to updated info, the shipwreck off the Tunisian coasts may have caused over 110 deaths: 48 bodies recovered, maybe about 64 missing," Flavio di Giacomo wrote on Twitter.

The figure confirmed by Tunisian authorities already makes the shipwreck the deadliest in the Mediterranean since February 2, when 90 people drowned off the coast of Libya, according to the IOM.

The Sfax incident came as nine Syrians including seven children drowned on Sunday when their vessel sank off the coast of Turkey as they were trying to reach Europe.

Spanish maritime rescue meanwhile said one person was reported drowned, while 240 migrants were rescued over the weekend.

More than 650 people have been recorded as dead or missing in the Mediterranean so far this year, while at least 33 270 have survived the crossing to Europe.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.