Boat packed with migrants shipwrecks off Libya


Bodies have been discovered during a search operation in the Mediterranean sea, after a rubber boat believed to have been carrying some 130 migrants capsized.

French humanitarian organization SOS Mediterranee, who provided harrowing images of the scene, added on Friday (April 24) that another wooden boat was still missing with about 40 people aboard.

Civil hotline Alarm Phone reported three boats in distress on Wednesday, prompting SOS Mediterranee to launch a search in what they called "very rough seas, with up to 6-meter waves."

Three merchant vessels and EU border agency FRONTEX aided the charity's own rescue ship, the Ocean Viking, in the search for the boats in international waters, northeast of the Libyan city of Tripoli.

Ocean Viking did not find any survivors when it arrived on the scene, but it did find bodies in the water nearby.

Conflict-ridden Libya is a major route for migrants seeking to reach Europe.

SOS Mediterranee said more than 350 people have died this year alone in the Central Mediterranean making the perilous voyage.

And more than 2,200 people perished at sea last year, according to a March report from the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration.

But the true number is likely far higher, as aid groups reported at least five "invisible shipwrecks" that were never confirmed as they left no survivors.

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