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(Libyan Express + Agencies) Libya coastguards rescue over 100 illegal immigrants, recover 5 bodies

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Libya coastguards rescue over 100 illegal immigrants, recover 5 bodies

  • Libyan Express + Agencies |
  • Tuesday 19 June 2018

A number of illegal immigrants on board a dinghy heading toward Italy from Libya.

Libya’s navy recovered the bodies of five migrants while they rescued more than 100 after their vessel sank near the country’s coast, the navy told AFP on Monday.

Libyan rescuers took three hours to reach the sinking rubber dinghy, officer Rami Ghommeidh said.

A survivor said they had been close to an Italian vessel that refused to save them.

“When we got closer to the Italian rescuers, they wouldn’t rescue us so we waited there” for the Libyan navy, he said.

Panic ensued as the passengers sought to clamber on board the Libyan ship as their own boat was quickly filling with water.

“While trying to climb up the side of the rescue boat, three women and two little boys fell into the water and drowned,” he said.

Ghommeidh did not identify the victims, confirming that five people died and 117 survived, including women and children.

They were taken to the capital Tripoli after being rescued “around eight nautical miles off the coast of Abu Kammash,” an important petrochemical complex and oil terminal close to the Tunisian border, the officer said.

Libya is a key departure point for thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe, although hundreds drown each year attempting the sea route.

So far this year, around 40,000 people have survived the crossing, while more than 800 are recorded as dead or missing by the United Nations refugee agency.

Libya coastguards rescue over 100 illegal immigrants, recover 5 bodies

The Libyan Navy announced on Monday the rescue of 115 illegal migrants and the recovery of 5 dead bodies off the western coast of Libya.

The Libyan Navy clarified in a statement that a Coast Guard patrol from Tripoli managed to pick up Sunday 115 illegal immigrants, among them, were 2 children and 22 women, in addition to 5 bodies, including 2 women and 3 men, who were on board a rubber boat north of Mellitah district, eastern Zuwara in western Libya.

The Navy pointed out that the immigrants were from 10 African countries in addition to 4 from Pakistan.

The statement also explained that the migrants were found in a bad condition due to the high waves that led to the sinking of the boat, leaving those aboard drifting in the sea.

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