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At least 10 dead on sinking migrant boat: Italian coastguard

The latest rescues will lift to more than 13,700 people the number of asylum seekers and migrants brought to Italian ports in just over a week. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Rome, Italy Jun 30, 2016, 11.21 AM (IST)
At least 10 people died after an inflatable dinghy loaded with migrants began sinking in the Mediterranean on Thursday, the Italian coastguard said.

The coastguard said on Twitter that 107 people had been rescued from the stricken vessel and 10 bodies had been recovered.

It was possible the final death toll could be higher as dinghies used by people smugglers often carry up to 140 people.

A total of 116 people were safely picked up in a separate operation in waters between Sicily and Libya on Thursday, the coastguard said.

The latest rescues will lift to more than 13,700 people the number of asylum seekers and migrants brought to Italian ports in just over a week as smugglers seek to take advantage of the current fine weather and calm sea conditions.

More than 64,000 people have landed at Italian ports since the start of the year, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, according to a tally by the UN refugee agency which does not include the latest arrivals.

The latest deaths came as Italian authorities prepared to begin removing the remains of hundreds of corpses from a salvaged fishing boat which sank off Libya last year in the deadliest disaster of the migrant crisis.

The boat, in which up to 800 people are feared to have died, was raised from the seabed on Monday and towed to the Sicilian port of Augusta.

Italian Prime Minsiter Matteo Renzi has vowed to give all of the victims decent burials as a way of highlighting the human cost of trafficking.

(AFP)
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