25 men and women were found dead in the Central Mediterranean, French aid group Doctors without Borders (MSF) said on Wednesday.
According to MSF, the bodies were found in an overcrowded rubber boat some 26 nautical miles from the Libyan coastline.
107 people from the same boat were picked up by rescue ship, Bourbon Argos, MSF said, adding that an additional 139 people were rescued from a nearby rubber raft.
“When we got to the first boat, we brought the 107 survivors on board but couldn’t recover what we thought were up to 11 dead bodies because we were called to another urgent rescue nearby,” Michele Telaro, MSF’s field coordinator of the rescue ship said in a statement.
The crew returned to the first vessel and found on closer examination that in fact, 25 people had died, probably from suffocation, burns or drowning.
Among the rescued people, 23 were in need of medical treatment for chemical burns; 11 of the cases were classified as severe, MSF said.