54 dead, 10,000 Migrants Rescued Off Libya Coast In 4 Days
No matter how many that die on the sea in their quest for greener pastures, many more attempt the impossible.
About 10,000 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya over the last four days but at least 54 others died, Libyan and Italian officials have said.
On Saturday, the Tunisian army also rescued 126 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa hoping to reach Italian shore.
They were aboard a flimsy inflatable boat off the coastal town of Ben Gardane, near the Libyan border.
On Friday, more than 1,200 migrants were rescued by Libyan ships and taken to Tripoli or Zawiya, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west, while the Italian coastguard and commercial boats rescued 2,200 others and took them to Italy.
At least 10 bodies were also found by the Italian coastguard, officials said.
Migrants were still disembarking in southern Italy on Saturday.
Another 6,400 were picked up between Tuesday and Thursday, but at least 44 people died, including 35 who drowned on Wednesday when a powerful wave struck their vessel, pitching them into the sea as a rescue ship was distributing life jackets.
Officials expressed fears that many more people were still missing at sea.
The unloading of passengers in Sicily was halted all week due to the G7 summit in the eastern hilltop town of Taormina, which lengthened rescue ships’ journey by 24 hours and delayed their return to the seas.
In response, they called on commercial boats to help out.
More than 50,000 migrants have reached the Italian coast since the start of the year, not counting those rescued in recent days, while more than 1,400 have drowned or are missing, according to UN figures.