‘Many lives may be lost’ as dozens rescued from Libya shipwreck


About 40 people are feared dead or missing after a migrant boat capsized off the coast of Libya, a UN official has said.

Charlie Yaxley, UN refugee agency spokesman, also said about 60 people may have been rescued.

“Terrible news coming in of potentially large loss of life in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya,” he tweeted, adding that details still remained “sketchy”.

“Around 60 people have been rescued and returned to shore. At least 40 people are estimated to be dead or missing.”

Libyan coast guard spokesman Ayoub Gassim confirmed at least five bodies – including a child – were recovered near the town of Khoms, about 75 miles (120km) east of the capital Tripoli.

He said the coast guard rescued at least 65 migrants, mostly from Sudan, and that efforts were being made to locate those who were still missing.

An independent support group for those attempting to cross the Mediterranean – called Alarm Phone – said up to 100 people were on the boat when it capsized.

Last week, more than 100 people died off the Libyan coast as a boat with about 250 people on board also capsized.

Thousands of people each year have died in the Mediterranean from among the hundreds of thousands trying to cross from North Africa to Europe.