Number missing rises to 250 as migrant boat sinks off Italy

April 6, 2011 17:15

ROME - Between 130 and 250 people were missing and at least 15 appeared to be dead after a boat carrying refugees from Libya capsized south of Sicily early on Wednesday, coast guard officials and aid workers said.

Rescuers picked up 47 people, including a heavily pregnant woman after the overloaded boat, which left Libya two days ago, sank at about 4:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) 40 miles (64 km) south of the island of Lampedusa.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a migrant assistance agency which has officials on Lampedusa, an Italian fishing boat rescued another three people.

Between 15 and 20 bodies were seen in the water, officials said, but high winds and rough seas made it difficult for coast guard boats and a police helicopter to operate.

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