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At least 50 migrants dead on a boat coming from Libya

At least 50 migrants dead on a boat coming from Libya
Migrants on an inflatable dinghy partially deflated by rescue personnel from the SOS   -  
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Johanna de Tessieres/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Mediterranean Sea

Survivors rescued from a deflating rubber dinghy in the central Mediterranean say about 50 people who left Libya with them a week ago died during the journey, humanitarian relief group SOS said Thursday Mediterranean.

The ship Ocean Viking spotted the dinghy with 25 people on board on Wednesday. Two of them were unconscious and were evacuated by the Italian army for treatment. The other 23 people are in serious condition, exhausted, dehydrated and burned by the fuel on board the boat.

Francesco Creazzo, spokesperson for SOS Méditerranée, said the survivors were all men, 12 of them minors and two not yet teenagers. They are native to Senegal, Mali and the Gambia.

Mr Creazzo said the survivors were traumatized and unable to give a full account of what happened during the journey. Humanitarian organizations often rely on survivors' accounts to establish the number of deaths and missing at sea presumed deceased.

The United Nations' International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 227 people have died along the perilous central Mediterranean route this year through March 11, not counting new people reported missing and presumed dead. 

This figure is in addition to the 279 deaths that have occurred in the Mediterranean since January 1. A total of 19,562 people arrived in Italy via this route during this period.

Survivors said the boat left Zawiya, Libya, with 75 people on board, including women and at least one toddler. The engine broke shortly after departure, and they found themselves adrift.