63 missing in Mediterranean shipwreck – Libyan navy

Migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships "Bettica" and "Bergamini" (unseen) off the coast of Libya

Libya’s navy says a new shipwreck off the Libyan coast has left 63 people missing in the latest disaster to hit migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean.

The group are feared drowned after the inflatable boat they were on sank, a spokesman for Libya’s Navy General Ayoub Kacem told AFP, citing eyewitness accounts from survivors.

Kacem said that 41 people wearing life jackets were rescued.

“The coast guards did not find bodies in the area,” he said.

According to survivors, there were 104 people on board the vessel, which sank off Garaboulli, east of Tripoli.

In the last few months, this area has become the main point of departure for inflatable boats overloaded with migrants seeking to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean to Italy.

In addition to the 41 people rescued, a Libyan coastguard boat returned to Tripoli Monday with another 235 migrants, including 54 infants and 29 women, rescued in two other operations in the same area.

The boat’s return to shore was delayed 24 hours due to a breakdown, Kacem said.

Libya is a key transit point for thousands of African migrants trying to reach European shores.

Agency Report