Migrant crisis: Boat sinks off Libya, killing at least 31
Those who were rescued were taken by Libyan coastguards to a naval base in Tripoli
At least 31 migrants have died after their boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Saturday.
They had been trying to cross the Mediterranean along with another boat. Children were among the dead.
Some 60 people were rescued from the water and 140 picked up from the second boat.
Mild weather conditions and calm seas has led to a rise in the number of migrants leaving Libya for Europe in recent days.
Some 250 people were rescued by the Libyan coastguard on Thursday.
And Italy's coastguard said on Tuesday it had rescued 1,100 people.
Saturday's sinking happened off the shores of Garabulli, a town some 37 miles (60 km) east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
"The first dinghy had capsized, it had sunk before we reached it," Colonel Abu Ajala Abdelbari of Libya's coastguard said.
He said the coastguard had gone to the scene "after hearing distress signals, and when they got there they found a group of people hanging on to the remainder of the dinghy, but the rest had died, they had spread out while the dinghy was sinking."
The bodies were also taken to Libya
They have been taken taken to Tripoli's naval base.
Other rescue operations were ongoing on Saturday evening, an Italian coastguard told the AFP news agency.
"The weather conditions these days are favourable for sending migrants to European shores on boats that are often unseaworthy," Colonel Abu Ajala Abdelbari said.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that at least 33,000 people are reported to have died or gone missing between 2000 and 2017 - making crossing the Mediterranean the world's "deadliest journey" for migrants.
Nearly 3,000 migrants are believed to have drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean this year.
AT LEAST 31 BODIES RECOVERED AFTER MIGRANT BOAT SINKS OFF LIBYA
The migrants were on two boats off the coast near Garabulli one of which had already sunk when the coastguard arrived.
African migrants arrive at a naval base in Tripoli on November 25, 2017, after their rubber boat was rescued off the coast of Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of the Libyan capital. More than 30 migrants died and 200 others were rescued when their boats foundered off Libya's western coast, the Libyan navy said. Picture: AFP.
TRIPOLI - At least 31 migrants died after their boat sank off Libya’s western coast on Saturday and some 200 others were picked up by the coastguard to be brought back to port in Tripoli, officials said.
The migrants were on two boats off the coast near Garabulli, east of Tripoli, one of which had already sunk when the coastguard arrived at the scene, said Abu Ajala Amer Abdelbari, a coast guard commander.
“The boat had sunk and they were spread out in the sea, they were trying to swim towards the coast,” he said. “There were about 60 people who we were able to save because they were clinging to the (remains of the) boat.” Another 140 migrants were picked up from the second boat, he said.
The dead, including a number of children, were brought back to Tripoli naval base where they were unloaded in white plastic body bags.
Libya is the main departure point for mostly African migrants trying to cross to Europe. Smugglers usually pack them into flimsy inflatable boats that often break down or sink.
Most migrants are picked up by international vessels and taken to Italy, where more than 115,000 have landed so far this year, although an increasing number are intercepted by Libya’s European-backed coastguard and returned to the North African country.
Since July, there has been a sharp drop in crossings, though this week has seen a renewed surge in departures.
Nearly 3,000 migrants are known to have died or be missing after trying to cross to Europe by sea this year, the majority of them between Libya and Italy. The International Organisation for Migration said on Friday that since 2000 the Mediterranean had been “by far the world’s deadliest border” for migrants.