Over 200 Migrants Feared Dead As 2 Boats Capsize Off The Coast Of Libya

The fifty casualties died while making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing in hopes of reaching Europe

More than 200 migrants are feared dead and another 200 have been rescued after two boats capsized off the coast of Libya in the latest tragedies to hit the Mediterranean.

The first boat, which was carrying around 50 people, overturned early yesterday followed by the second which sank while overloaded with around 400 passengers.

Libyan coastguards said they had rescued around 200 people and had worked overnight to search for survivors.

Many in the second boat appeared to have been trapped in the hold when it capsized off the western coastal town of Zuwara.

Another local official and a journalist based in Zuwara confirmed the sinking but also had no information on casualties.

The migrants on board had been from sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco and Bangladesh, a security official said.

Meanwhile, the Swedish coastguard ship Poseidon arrived at the port of Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily yesterday with 52 corpses found on a boat off the coast of Libya on Wednesday.

Most of the victims had been trapped in the hold and died of asphyxiation, according to survivors. 

Poseidon disembarked 471 migrants who were among the more than 3,000 rescued by several ships on Wednesday.  

'There are thousands and thousands of dead lying in the Mediterranean whose bodies will never be found and no one is paying attention,' said Palermo's Mayor Leoluca Orlando.

Italian coastguards later said some 1,430 people had been rescued in numerous operations near Libya throughout the day on Thursday and a merchant ship sent to the aid of a wooden boat carrying 125 people recovered two bodies.

Libya's coast guard has very limited capabilities, relying on small inflatables, tug boats and fishing vessels.

Zuwara, Libya's most western town located near the Tunisian border, is a major launchpad for smugglers shipping migrants to Italy.

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