Boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya; 57 presumed dead

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A UN migration official confirmed that a boat with migrants on board off Libya met a sea mishap, leaving around 57 passengers assumed dead.

According to International Organization for Migration spokesperson Safa Msheli, the boat departed from Khums, a western coastal town, on Sunday. It carried a total of 75 people.

Msehli said 18 people were retrieved and were brought to shore on Monday.

According to the reports of the survivors, who were from Ghana, Gambia, and Nigeria, the boat has stopped due to engine issues. It then capsized because of the bad weather, the spokesperson added.

“According to survivors brought to shore by fishermen and the coast guard, at least 20 women and two children were among those who drowned,” Msehli said in a Twitter post.

The mishap is the recent catastrophe in the Mediterranean Sea that involved refugees and migrants aiming for improved life in Europe.

The fatalities were reported in the heels of the drowning of some 20 people in the Mediterranean Sea, while 500 were stopped and were returned to Libya.

In recent months, there has been an increase in crossings and attempted traveling.

In the first half of this year alone, nearly 15, 000 refugees, migrants, and people who search for asylum were stopped by the EU-supported Libyan coastguard. The United Nations said the number has exceeded those who fled in the whole year last year.

According to Amnesty International, more than 7, 000 people were stopped at sea in the first half this year. They were returned to Libyan detention camps by force, Al Jazeera reported.

Libya became the main transit path for people attempting to go to Europe via sea since turmoil was triggered following the 2011 revolt that collapsed the leader Muammar Gaddafi.