Passengers in Italy boat disaster thought to be Eritreans: U.N.

GENEVA Thu Oct 3, 2013 6:37am EDT

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GENEVA (Reuters) - An estimated 500 passengers on a boat that sank off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on Thursday were all believed to be Eritreans coming from Libya, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration said.

The boat caught fire half a mile from the coast, UNHCR said. The local mayor said earlier that 82 dead bodies had been recovered, and officials said many people were still missing.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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