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NGO fears death of at least 240 migrants in Mediterranean

Updated: 2017-03-24 07:30
NGO fears death of at least 240 migrants in Mediterranean

Lifeguards from the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms lift the body of a migrant onto the former fishing trawler Golfo Azzurro during a search and rescue operation in central Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, March 23, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

MADRID  — A Spanish aid organization says it has recovered five bodies from waters off the Libyan coast and fears that at least 240 migrants could have died after two boats capsized in the Mediterranean.

Proactiva Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza said each rubber boat usually holds 120 people, but smugglers tend to fill them over capacity to maximize their benefits in each trip.

She said the NGO confirmed the sinking of two boats but was only able to find the bodies of five men of African origin on Thursday morning, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) north of the Libyan town of Sabratha.

The migrants were between 16 and 25 years old and appeared to have drowned, said Lanuza, as their bodies didn't show any sign of violence. The NGO's rescuers were searching for a third boat.

Associated Press

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