Geneva: An estimated 239 migrants are missing after two separate boats capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast on Wednesday, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) confirmed on Thursday.
“Survivors from one boat said about 140 people, including six children and approximately 20 women, some of them pregnant, left Libya at around 3.00 a.m.,” UNHCR spokesman Leo Dobbs told Xinhua news agency in a written statement.
“After a few hours, the wooden planks at the bottom of the dinghy they were travelling on broke, causing it to capsize approximately 25 miles off the Libyan coast,” he added.
According to initial reports, rescuers saved 29 people and recovered 12 bodies.
In the second incident, reports from survivors who disembarked at the Italian port of Lampedusa were that around 128 people had lost their lives after “an already unsafe dinghy” sank at around 5.00 a.m. local time (0400) on Wednesday.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), this brings this year’s total number of Mediterranean migrant deaths to a record-breaking 4,220.
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