Sixty persons suspected to be migrants from Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco, Chad and other African countries have reportedly died after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. The boat which left Libya for Italy sank off Tunisia.
It was gathered that tragedy unfolded after some 75 people who had left Zuwara on the northwestern Libyan coast late Thursday on a large boat were transferred to a smaller one that sank off Tunisia.
“The migrants were transferred into a smaller inflatable boat which was overloaded, and 10 minutes later it sank,” Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official in the southern Tunisian town of Zarzis.
The survivors said they spent eight hours trapped in the cold sea before they were spotted by Tunisian fishermen who alerted the Tunisian coastguard, Slim said.
In a swift reaction to the development, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR has warned that the journey across the Mediterranean “is becoming increasingly fatal for those who risk it”.
“In the first four months of this year, one person has died (crossing the Mediterranean) for every three that have reached European shores, after departing from Libya,” it said.