More than 250 migrants may have died in shipwreck off Libya

TRIPOLI Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:01am EDT

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TRIPOLI Aug 24 (Reuters) - More than 250 migrants may have died when a boat sank a kilometre (half a mile) off the Libyan coast, a coastguard official said on Sunday.

"We believe there are still more than 250 bodies trapped underwater," coastguard official Mohammad Abdellatif told Reuters. "When we went underwater we discovered that the boat is a lot bigger than we thought."

The boat sank late on Friday east of the capital Tripoli. Thousands of migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, have crowded into rickety vessels in recent months in an effort to reach Italian shores. Many boats have been wrecked. (Reporting by Heba al-Shibani; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)