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'40' drown as migrant boat sinks off Sicily

By Paul de Bassos

Dozens more migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean after a boat carrying an estimated 137 people sank south of Sicily.

The Save the Children aid agency said yesterday that survivors described how as many as 40 people fell into the sea as a rescue vessel was approaching.

The migrants who were rescued arrived in the city of Catania last night.

At least 1,750 people have died already this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, a 20-fold increase on the same period in 2014.

Giovanna di Benedetto, Save the Children's representative in Catania, said the latest sinking is thought to have happened on Sunday, but the exact toll was not known.

The latest deaths come as naval chiefs from 26 European countries are due to discuss the migrant crisis at talks in Naples.

EU nations agreed last month to triple funding for rescue operations run by European border agency Frontex, contribute more boats and patrol aircraft for rescue efforts, and look at ways to target smugglers' boats.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph