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700 Migrants Dead As Boat Capsizes Off Libya

APRIL 20, 2015

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700 Migrants Dead As Boat Capsizes Off Libya

700 Migrants Dead As Boat Capsizes Off Libya

More than 700 people are feared dead after a fishing boat crammed with migrants capsized off the Libya coast. Some survivors suggest the number could be more than 1000. As EU foreign and interiors minsters discussed the worsening crisis, the International Organization for Migration received a distress call from another boat in the Mediterranean carrying more than 300 people. The mass drowning, deadliest in the Mediterranean, caused an outcry across Europe, where the newspapers called it the "EU's darkest day". Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany,  top European country for migrants, said she was "appalled" by the disaster, calling it "not worthy of Europe".


The boat capsized most likely due to terrified passengers rushing to one side desperately to get off after coastal authorities in Italy and Malta picked up a distress signal around midnight, while it was still in Libyan waters. The deadliest incident prior to this one occurred off Malta in 2014, when 500 migrants had drowned after traffickers deliberately rammed their boat to force the people onboard onto a smaller vessel.

Italian and Maltese navy boats continued to search for survivors off Libya but the outlook appears grim, with only 28 survivors rescued so far.  Libya has been torn between rival factions fighting it out for control of the oil-rich state.


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