Migrant boat sinks off Italy, 150 missing

April 6, 2011 10:20


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ROME - Around 150 people were missing after a boat carrying migrants from North Africa capsized in heavy seas near the southern Italian island of Lampedusa early on Wednesday, coast guard officials said.

Rescuers picked up 47 people from the sea after the boat sank at around 4.00 a.m. (0200 GMT) 40 miles south of Lampedusa, but high winds and rough seas made it difficult for coast guard boats and a police helicopter to operate.

Thousands of illegal immigrants from North Africa have arrived in southern Italy since the beginning of the year, most of them aiming for the tiny island of Lampedusa, some 150 kilometers (95 miles) from the Tunisian coast.

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