Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

January 19, 2019 - 8:20 am

ROME (AP) — A rescue official says survivors have told rescuers that up to 117 migrants might have died when a rubber dinghy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya.

Flavio Di Giacomo of International Organization for Migration says three survivors were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday, and they say 120 were aboard when the dinghy left Libya.

The navy says its airplane launched life rafts after it spotted the sinking dinghy Friday with about 20 people aboard. It wasn't immediately clear if some migrants had already fallen off.

The Italian Coast Guard says Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors, but no one was found.

The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Libyan authorities as saying a dispatched Libyan coast guard boat turned back after mechanical problems.

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