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Rescuers retrieve 62 migrant bodies from capsized boat off Libya

Representative image. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

AFP Libya Jul 26, 2019, 11.08 PM (IST)

Libya's Red Crescent said Friday its rescue workers had recovered the bodies of 62 migrants a day after one of the deadliest shipwrecks this year in the Mediterranean.

"Our Red Crescent teams have pulled 62 migrants" from the water since Thursday evening, the head of the unit Abdelmoneim Abu Sbeih said.

Aid agencies on Thursday said more than 100 migrants were missing after their boat sank off the Libyan coast.

In one of the deadliest shipwrecks this year in the Mediterranean, 145 migrants were rescued but scores of others were feared drowned after their flimsy boat went down off Khoms, 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Tripoli.

Despite the high number of those missing, estimated at more than 110 by the International Organization for Migration (OIM), the Libyan coast guard does not have the capabilities to launch a high seas search.

"There were bodies floating on the surface of the water where the boat went down" on Thursday, said one of the fishermen who were the first on the scene to rescue survivors.

Libyan navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem said most of the rescued migrants were from Eritrea, although Palestinians and Sudanese were also among the group waiting to be taken on to reception centres.

In general, humanitarian agencies provide medical care and food for survivors, who are then transported to Libyan detention centres.

Amnesty International lambasted the European Union over the latest deaths.

"This high number represents a new low for European leaders. They have done everything they can to pull up the drawbridge to Europe," it said, "yet people are still risking their lives to come to Europe".