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97 missing after migrant boat sinks - Libyan coast guard

Ninety-seven migrants are missing and believed drowned after their Europe-bound boat sank on a crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, the Libyan coast guard has said.

Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said 23 migrants were rescued around six miles (10km) off the coast after authorities received a distress call on Thursday morning.

Fifteen women and five children are among those still missing.

He said the boat, which was loaded with African nationals, "completely collapsed".

Libya has become a major avenue of migration, with thousands braving the dangerous sea crossing to Europe. More than 4,500 migrants perished on the crossing in 2016 alone.

AP

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