25 migrants found dead as boat reaches Italy

August 1st, 2011 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, Aug 1 (IANS) At least 25 migrants - as yet of unknown nationality - were found dead Monday in a boat carrying nearly 300 refugees to an Italian island, officials said.

The boat, carrying a total of 296 refugees, was found along the coast of the Lampedusa island, Lampedusa port authorities told ANSA news agency.

All the deceased were young men who may have died of asphyxiation, they said.

There were 36 women and 21 children among the refugees still alive.

Since the beginning of the north African unrest in January, Lampedusa has become a transit point for refugees fleeing that region.

Official statistics said some 30,000 immigrants have arrived in Italy, mostly from Tunisia and Libya.

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