More than 200 feared dead in latest migrant sea tragedy

Initial reports put about 700 passengers on the overcrowded steel-hulled boat but interviews with survivors - mostly Syrians fleeing their country's civil war - reduced that estimate and the figure could still change.

More than 200 feared dead in latest migrant sea tragedy

More than 200 migrants are feared to have drowned in the latest Mediterranean boat tragedy after rescuers saved over 370 people from a capsized boat thought to be carrying 600, the Italian coast guard indicated on Thursday.

Rescue ships including vessels from the Italian and Irish navies and humanitarian agency Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF) recovered 25 bodies after the boat sank off the Libyan coast on Wednesday and found no more overnight, a spokesman said.

Initial reports put about 700 passengers on the overcrowded steel-hulled boat but interviews with survivors - mostly Syrians fleeing their country's civil war - reduced that estimate and the figure could still change.

Early on Thursday, another large migrant boat was spotted in the area, just 30 miles from the Libyan coast, and one of the Italian rescue ships was sent to its aid, the spokesman added.

The capsized boat flipped over on Wednesday as a rescue vessel approached, probably because desperate passengers surged to one side as they saw help arrive.

"We don't know how many people might be trapped within the belly of the boat that capsized and sunk, that's our greatest fear tonight," MSF, whose Dignity 1 rescue ship was on the scene, said in a Tweet late on Wednesday.

"People were clinging to life rafts, fighting for their lives," said MSF's Juan Matias, who was aboard Dignity 1.

The Mediterranean Sea has become the world's most deadly border area for migrants. More than 2,000 migrants and refugees have died so far this year in attempts to reach Europe by boat, compared with 3,279 deaths during the whole of last year, the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

The dynamic of Wednesday's tragedy was similar to an April shipwreck carrying up to 800 migrants.

That 20-metre (66-foot) vessel capsized as it approached a merchant ship that had come to its assistance, making it the deadliest shipwreck in the Mediterranean for decades and a symbol of Europe's long-running migrant crisis.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

We'll reconcile Tinubu, Osinbajo, other APC aspirants after primaries - Adamu

We'll reconcile Tinubu, Osinbajo, other APC aspirants after primaries - Adamu

Buhari returns from Abu Dhabi amidst Electoral Act confusion

Buhari returns from Abu Dhabi amidst Electoral Act confusion

Sanwu-Olu signs landmark air quality declaration to improve health, climate

Sanwu-Olu signs landmark air quality declaration to improve health, climate

2023: Tambuwal says dialogue will end restiveness in South-East

2023: Tambuwal says dialogue will end restiveness in South-East

Presidency: You’re already on board, Emir of Katsina assures Osinbajo

Presidency: You’re already on board, Emir of Katsina assures Osinbajo

Benue governorship: Priest reacts to suspension by Catholic Church

Benue governorship: Priest reacts to suspension by Catholic Church

Evil, politics can’t divide Nigeria – Tinubu

Evil, politics can’t divide Nigeria – Tinubu

It's wrong to hold arbitration cases against Nigeria in UK - Jonathan

It's wrong to hold arbitration cases against Nigeria in UK - Jonathan

CAN kicks as irate youths cause chaos in Bauchi over blasphemy allegation

CAN kicks as irate youths cause chaos in Bauchi over blasphemy allegation