Over 100 illegal migrants died as boats capsized off Libya, MSF said

Migrants sit in a rubber dinghy as they are rescued by Libyan coast guards in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, January 15, 2018. Image: REUTERS/Hani Amara

Over 100 migrants died in early September when their crowded rubber boats were wrecked off the coast of Libya, the MSF aid agency on Monday quoted survivors as saying.

The two vessels had set out from the Libyan coast early on September 1, each carrying scores of people, mostly African, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement on its website.

One boat’s engine failed later that day and the other began to deflate, it quoted a survivor as saying. Some survived by clinging to floating wreckage.

A survivor told MSF that “European rescuers” had come by aircraft and thrown life rafts, but migrants remained in the water for hours.

“On our boat, only 55 people survived. Many people died, including families and children. They could have been saved if rescuers had come earlier,” MSF quoted the unidentified survivor as saying.

Sudanese, Malians, Nigerians, Cameroonians, Ghanaians, Libyans, Algerians and Egyptians were among those on board the wrecked vessels.

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