March 19, 2019 / 10:20 AM / a month ago

At least 10 migrants die when boat sinks off Libyan coast: official

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - At least 10 migrants died when their boat sank off the Libyan coast near the western town of Sabratha on Tuesday, a Libyan security official said.

About 17 others were rescued, Aiman Dabbashi, Sabratha’s security operations spokesman, said.

Libya’s western coast is a main departure point for migrants fleeing poverty and wars to reach Europe, though numbers have dropped since Italy and the European Union stepped up efforts to support the Libyan coast guard.

“According to a survivor from Sudan, the boat was carrying about 27 illegal migrants who set off from (the western town of) Zuwarah but we are still finding out more,” Dabbashi told Reuters.

“We rescued about 17 illegal migrants including a woman who all were taken to the hospital. There are about ten bodies of the other migrants.”

The migrants came from various sub-Saharan countries.

The United Nations migration agency IOM said 15 survivors had been brought to a hospital but it did not know how many people had been on board.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Angus MacSwan

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