Newstalk
Newstalk

14.12 20 Jan 2019


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A total of 120 people have died in two separate attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa in recent days.

The International Organization for Migration said 117 people are believed to have drowned on Friday after a rubber that left Libya the previous day started to take on water.

The news comes less than 24 hours after a ship carrying 53 people was confirmed to have sunk off the coast of Spain.

The IOM said it brings the death toll in the Mediterranean in the first three weeks of the year to 200.

IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di GIacomo said the Italian Navy brought two survivors of the second sinking to the island of Lampedusa on Saturday.

He said the two men – both Sudanese nationals – said the boat was carrying 120 people. Their account was later confirmed by a third survivor – a man from The Gambia.

They said the boat started taking on water about ten hours after it left the Libyan Port of Garabuli on Thursday night.

They said many of its passengers died in the freezing waters – including ten women – one known to be pregnant – and two children, including a two-month-old toddler.

The three men said they managed to stay afloat for several hours before they were spotted by Italian Navy patrol plane around 50 miles off the Libyan coast.

The news comes after it was confirmed that a ship carrying 53 people was wrecked off the coast of Spain on January 17th.

The IOM said there was one surviving witness to the tragedy.


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