CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Migrant Boat Sinks off Libyan Coast, Dozens Dead, Missing

Italian Border Patrols Pick Up Boatloads Of Illegal Immigrants

(Photo : Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images) A boat loaded with illegal immigrant is seen on June 21, 2005 in Lampedusa, Italy.

Migrants have been rescued off the coast of Libya on their way to Italy after their boat capsized. It is feared that dozens have died in the ferry accident.

The European Union's naval force, Eunavfor, said in a statement that one of its planes saw around 15 to 20 bodies about 40 miles off the Libyan coast after the boat sank. Since the boat capsized, 22 rescue operations have been carried out.

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One of those rescued is a five-year-old boy. He was taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa via helicopter due to his condition. It is not clear what the condition of the boy is.

It remains unclear how many boats capsized in total as the Italian coast guard claimed they were only in the area of one ship that sank. However, Sea Watch, a private rescue mission, said that two boats sank out of the 16 total boats that set out to the waters earlier in the day. Libya's coast guard also announced that two more boats sank in their waters.

Sea Watch spokeswoman Ruby Hartbrich said in a statement that from the two capsized boats they saw, around 150 were on it and as many as 100 might have died. The death toll has not been confirmed yet. Libya's coast guard said that they have retrieved four bodies from the two capsized boats they have found.

According to Eunfavor, around 560 migrants were on the capsized boat that it spotted on Wednesday. The spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Flavio Di Giacomo, said in a statement on Twitter that "Survivors of yesterday's shipwreck report that there were around 650 migrants on board. If confirmed, [the] missing may be approximately 100."

He followed his tweet with another statement saying that the boat sailed from the Libyan port of Sabrata and that many on board were Moroccans. He claims they used to live in Libya but fled due to the violence.

In total, 3,771 people have died or gone missing as they tried to reach Europe in 2015. More than one million reached the shores of the continent.

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