A wooden boat carrying migrant people capsized off the Libyan coast, leaving about 115 people missing who are feared to be dead. Another 136 people were rescued by the Libyan coast guards and local fishermen, said a Libyan Navy officer on Thursday.
Earlier, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said that up to 150 people were feared dead.
There were about 250 people on board, mainly from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan Africa and Arab countries, when the boat capsized off the coast near Komas, east of the capital Tripoli, Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.
This is ‘the worst Mediterranean tragedy of the year’.
Those rescued and survivors of the wreck are likely to be taken to two detention centers in Libya where they will face further risk for illegally entering and leaving the country. UN says such places are ‘effectively jails’ where basic needs lack.
For many years, Libya has been a hub for migrants and refugees, from where they try to reach Europe in such unseaworthy boats, risking their lives.