Fri | Jan 19, 2018

EU: Some 20 bodies spotted as migrant boat sinks off Libya

Published:Friday | May 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM


A migrant boat sank off Libya's coast yesterday, with some 20 bodies spotted in the sea. Officials said 88 people had been rescued.

The Libyan coastguard also reported finding four bodies as well as two empty boats, suggesting that there could be many more victims as smugglers working amid Libya's lawlessness take advantage of calm seas and warm weather to pack people into boats unfit for the trip to Europe.

Two Italian coastguard vessels and the Spanish frigate, the Reina Sofia, intervened at the scene, said Navy Lieutenant Rino Gentile, a European Union spokesman. The scene was some 30 miles (50 kilometres) off Libya's coast.

Gentile said 77 people had been rescued. Italian CoastGuard. Commander Cosimo Nicastro gave the figure of 88 rescued; the discrepancy could not be immediately explained. Gentile said about 20 bodies had been spotted in the sea.

In other rescues, a Libyan navy spokesman said a total of 766 migrants were rescued by the Libyan coastguard on yesterday.

Colonel Ayoub Gassim said they were found in two groups - one of 550 near the western coastal city of Sabratha, and the second of 216 off Zwara.