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Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Sixty Libyan Migrants Feared Drowned While Attempting To Cross Mediterranean

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As many as 60 people are feared to have drowned on a vessel carrying migrants across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy or Malta, the operators of a charity rescue group said on Thursday.

SOS Mediterranee said it rescued 25 people in a “very weak” condition in coordination with the Italian Coast Guard on Wednesday and that two unconscious people were flown to Sicily by helicopter.

The central Mediterranean is one of the world’s deadliest migration routes. According to the UN migration agency (IOM), almost 2,500 migrants died or went missing attempting the crossing last year, and 226 since the start of 2024.

The SOS Mediterranee posted on X, saying, “The survivors departed from Zawiya, Libya, seven days before they were rescued.” “Their engine broke after three days, leaving their boat lost (and) adrift without water and food for days. Survivors report that at least 60 people perished on the way, including women and at least one child,” it added.

The IOM expressed its “deep trouble” about the study. “Urgent action is needed to strengthen maritime patrols and prevent further tragedies,” it said on X.

The SOS Mediterranee stated in a post on X on Wednesday that 25 persons who were on a rubber boat drifting in the Libyan search and rescue area were rescued by its Ocean Viking vessel after they were spotted with binoculars.

In rescue operations on Wednesday and Thursday, the charity reported that it had rescued an additional 113 individuals, including two toddlers, from a wooden boat and 88 from a crowded rubber dingy.

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