Nearly 100 refugees missing after boat sinks off Libya
Search and rescue operation under way as latest boat disaster in the Mediterranean Sea kills at least eight
Many ships carrying refugees have sunk in recent years while crossing from Libya to Italy [File: Yara Nardi/EPA](Aljazeera) –Nearly 100 people are missing after a boat packed with refugees and migrants sank off the Libyan coast, killing at least eight, according to the Italian coastguard.Search operations continued after nightfall in poor weather and sea conditions, officials said on Saturday.
“The bodies of eight people have been recovered. Four people have been saved, and they say 107 migrants were onboard the boat,” the coastguard’s press office said.
A French warship, patrolling under the European Union’s Frontex border operation, picked up the survivors and two merchant ships were heading for the area, located about 50km north of the Libyan coast.
A Frontex jet and an Italian naval helicopter also joined the search and rescue operation.
On Friday, around 550 refugees and migrants were picked up from four inflatable dinghies by Italian coastguard vessels, an Italian naval ship, an NGO boat and a merchant vessel.
In recent years, Italy has been on the front line of refugees and migrants arriving across the Mediterranean Sea and has been pushing for agreements with governments in North Africa to facilitate returns.
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