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1ST LEAD Hopes fading for 100 migrants missing in shipwreck off Libya By Ashraf Azabi, dpa

Europe
10.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Tripoli (dpa) - Hopes of finding survivors among the more than 100 migrants missing after a boat sank off Libya were fading on Wednesday, a Libyan coastguard commander said.

Nasr al-Qamoudi, a Libyan coastguard commander, told dpa that the bad weather in the area made it difficult for the rescuers to find any of the missing migrants.

On Tuesday, the Libyan coastguard rescued 17 people from the boat, which sank off the town of al-Khoms, east of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The survivors clung to the wreckage of the vessel until they were saved. No other survivors have since been found.

The Libyan navy estimated in a Facebook statement that 90 to 100 people were still missing in the shipwreck.

Al-Qamoudi said rescuers had "lost hope" of finding more survivors in the incident, the latest in a series of tragedies off the coast of Libya.

"In normal circumstances, we usually find in water traces of survivors or dead bodies. But due to the rough seas, we did not find anything, not even a piece of clothes. Therefore, we lost hope in finding anyone," he added.

Al-Qamoudi predicted that most of the bodies would be washed ashore by the sea waves, but he did not say when.

The Libyan coastguard on Tuesday saved a total of 279 migrants in three incidents at sea, including those from the al-Khoms shipwreck, according to the navy.

Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi in a NATO-supported armed revolt.

Lawlessness in the North African country has helped it become the main springboard for dangerous migrant journeys towards Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.

 

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