At least 53 dead in migrant shipwreck off Tunisia

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FILE PHOTO: A group of Tunisian migrants arrive on a rubber boat after being rescued by the Tunisian coast guard off the coast of Bizerte, Tunisia October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
FILE PHOTO: A group of Tunisian migrants arrive on a rubber boat after being rescued by the Tunisian coast guard off the coast of Bizerte, Tunisia October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

The number of illegal immigrants killed after their boat sank off the southeastern coast of Tunisia has risen to 53, Tunisian officials said Friday.

According to a statement from the ministry on Thursday, the Tunisian coast guard units were able to recover 13 additional bodies, including nine men and four women.

The bodies of two toddlers and 20 adults washed up on the shores of Tunisia’s Kerkennah Island in the Mediterranean Sea, while 19 more bodies were founding floating in the waters, AP reported.

The search is still underway for the remaining immigrants who were onboard the boat.

The boat was packed with about 53 immigrants from different African countries.

According to the initial investigation, the boat left the coast of Sfax on June 4 toward the Italian coast, and sank off the Kerkennah Islands in Sfax.

Tunisia has become an important new route for migrants trying to reach Europe in the past year, and Kerkennah is known as one of the main illegal gateways

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