At least 10 migrants died when their boat capsized off the coast of Sabratha, in Libya, on Tuesday, a Libyan security official said.
About 17 others were rescued, according to Sabratha’s security operations spokesman, Aiman Dabbashi.
“According to a survivor from Sudan, the boat was carrying about 27 illegal migrants who set off from (the western town of) Zuwarah but we are still finding out more,” Dabbashi told Reuters.
“We rescued about 17 illegal migrants including a woman who all were taken to the hospital. There are about ten bodies of the other migrants.”
Those who were rescued were returned to Libya where they were treated by medical staff, according to the International Organisation for Migration. Many reportedly suffered critical injuries including fractured bones.
Local sources in #Libya report that a boat carrying at least 44 people has sunk off the coast of #Sabratha. It's impossible to know how many other shipwrecks go unnoticed due to poor and insufficient search and rescue capacity in the #Mediterranean. https://t.co/mFrgLlkntd
— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) March 19, 2019
Libya’s western coast has been a main departure point for migrants fleeing poverty and wars to reach Europe.
Italy and the European Union stepped up efforts to support the Libyan coast guard in 2017, as part of a controversial deal that has led to a sharp decrease in migrants arriving in Italy.
This year, 348 people have been brought to safety in Italy, compared with 6,161 in the same period last year.
So far in 2019, 234 people have died in the Mediterranean, according to the International Organisation for Migration.