According to a Spanish aid organization, more than 200 migrants might have sunk in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast.
Two pneumatical boats with migrants might have sunk in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the AFP news agency reported, citing Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish aid organization. As a result, over 200 people, who were on board, might have lost their lives.
According to press secretary of the organization, Laura Lanuza, the aid group managed to pull five bodies, floating near two capsized boats, which can each hold over 120 people. All these people were young men, who appeared to have drowned.
“We took up on the board bodies of five people, who were near the boats in 27 kilometers from the shore,” Lanuza told the news agency. “Each of boats of this type can hold from 120 to 140 migrants.”
The five deaths were confirmed by a spokesman for the Italy’s coast guard, which coordinates rescues. At the same time, the spokesman told the BBC News TV-channel that they could not confirm the estimates of deaths, given by Proactiva Open Arms, and noted that the Italy’s coast guard had received no distress calls from any boats.
According to data of the Italian government, since January 1 of this year, 16,206 migrants have been saved in the Mediterranean Sea. During the same period in 2016, 11,911 people were saved there.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 20,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year. At the same time, acoording to estimates, some 559 people have died or gone missing en route.
Libya has long ago become the largest transshipment point for illegal migrants from Africa, who head off to Europe, searching for job and better life. The flow of immigrants from Libya grew tens of times after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.