117 feared dead in Mediterranean incident

More than 100 African migrants who set off in a rickety, inflatable dingy have died in a wreck off the Libyan coast, humanitarian workers said on Saturday, in what was the deadliest such episode in recent months. The scale of the catastrophe became clear after three survivors, two Sudanese and one Gambian, who were rescued by the Italian Navy and brought to shore in the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, told the aid workers that 117 migrants had died. “Survivors told us that they had about 10 women on board, and one of them was pregnant,” Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration, said in a phone interview. The migrants were believed to have been from countries in West Africa and Sudan. Libya is the principal springboard for most African migrants seeking to enter Europe, and before they even set to sea. The dingy set out on Thursday from the coastal town of Garabulli, Libya, west of Tripoli, and in about 10 hours started deflating and taking on water, survivors told humanitarian workers. When an aircraft from the Italian Navy on a security and surveillance mission spotted the craft 50 nautical miles northeast of the Libyan capital, the vessel had already started sinking, the Navy said in a statement, and roughly 20 people could be seen on board. The Italian Navy said that, after launching two inflatable rafts toward the migrants, it immediately called another helicopter to provide support. The helicopter rescued the only three survivors and brought them to the hospital on the island of Lampedusa.NY Times

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/117-feared-dead-in-mediterranean-incident/article26046057.ece

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