Up to 64 migrants drown in weekend sinking off Libya: NGOs

Up to 64 migrants feared dead in shipwreck off Libya: IOM

The Italian coastguard said the migrants had been spotted on Saturday morning by a plane patrolling the seas on behalf of a European anti-smuggling operation.

Italian navy and coast guard vessels were involved in the rescue.

The Spanish rescue group known as "Proactiva Open Arms" said in a tweet that "dozens of other passengers will never be found". He told The Associated Press on Saturday that the boat left Garbouli, east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with more than 100 people on board. The smugglers routinely crowd much more than 100 people into motorized rubber dinghies created to hold far fewer, aiming to maximize profits on the route from lawless Libya toward southern Europe. The Italian coast guard launched a search but didn't find any more survivors or bodies.

"Sixty-four migrants lost their life in the shipwreck (which) occurred last Saturday", Di Giacomo said, saying "probably 56 missing migrants" perished at sea.

"I watched a three-year-old girl while she was starting to play at the port here". The coast guard said there was no confirmation of Libyan authorities' statement that at least 25 migrants had died.

The IOM said that almost 120,000 migrants docked in Italy over the course of a year ago, out of a total of more than 171,500 who arrived in Europe by sea, mostly fleeing war in the Middle East and poverty in Africa.

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Up to 100 Migrant Lives Feared Lost off Libya
The missing appeared to have all been in the same dinghy, whose remnants were found near the city of Khoms, the navy said. Libya has been plagued by lawlessness and militia rule since a 2011 uprising toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

All of the missing are adults, Di Giacomo said, adding that three other children survived, boys aged two, nine and 10.

"We can proudly say that many among those we resuscitated are now alive", said Dr. Maria Rita Agliozzo, who was aboard the coast guard rescue ship with a paramedic.

A doctor said some of the survivors needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation when they were brought aboard the rescue ship. "Unfortunately some of them did not make it". "It's a step-by-step process, hopefully they will work through what happened and later provide more information", Agliozzo said. Another 3,100 drowned along the way in 2017, the IOM says.

The incident was believed to be the first involving a migrant boat in the Mediterranean in 2018, according to aid agencies and non-government groups.

The majority of the asylum seekers are Africans fleeing war and poverty back home.