Over 25 migrants drown as Libyan coastguards rescue 65 others off Al-Khoms shores
At least 40 people are feared dead following an accident of a boat off the coast of Libya, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).
“Terrible news coming in of potentially large loss of life in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya,” Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the UNHCR, said on Twitter on Tuesday.
“Around 60 people have been rescued and returned to shore. At least 40 people are estimated to be dead or missing.”
The comments came as Ayoub Gassim, a spokesman for Libya’s coastguard, told the Associated Press news agency that at least five bodies, including that of a child, were recovered near the western town of Khoms, about 120km east of the capital, Tripoli.
He said at least 65 people, mostly from Sudan, had been rescued and that search operations were under way for those still missing. The survivors also included people from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, according to Yaxley.
Alarm Phone, an independent support group for people crossing the Mediterranean Sea, said up to 100 people were on board the capsized vessel.
The group said it received a call from those on the boat, who “were in severe distress, crying and shouting, telling us that people had died already.”