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'200 died' in migrant boat shipwreck off Libya

Published 07/08/2015

Italian officers help migrants disembarking from an Italian coastguard ship in Sicily. (AP)
Italian officers help migrants disembarking from an Italian coastguard ship in Sicily. (AP)

About 200 migrants are thought to have died when a fishing boat capsized off Libya because smugglers kept them inside the hold, survivors have told police.

About 370 people survived after the boat capsized as rescuers approached, and have since arrived in Sicily aboard an Irish naval vessel which docked in Palermo.

Police said migrant accounts helped confirm preliminary estimates by rescuers that about 600 were on the 20-metre fishing boat. Investigators now estimate that 650 migrants were aboard

Officers said some of the five smugglers, who were detained when they disembarked with survivors, were tasked with using violence if necessary to ensure the migrants did not move.

Twenty-six bodies have been recovered.

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