21 refugees dead, many missing after boats sink off Libya: Reports

March 31st, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, March 31 (DPA) At least two boats carrying hundreds of African refugees sank off the Libyan coast, with 21 bodies and 23 survivors recovered and hundreds more missing, Italian media reported early Tuesday.
One boat was carrying a reported 257 people and the second had 340 on board.

The search for missing was continuing.

The two boats were launched from near Tripoli in the direction of Italy. The causes of the shipwrecks were not immediately known.

Italian television reported that a third boat carrying about 350 was discovered in distress by an Italian freighter.

More than 400 boat people arrived Monday in southern Italy, including a 20-metre wooden boat packed with 249 people when it reached the southern tip of Sicily.

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