A FISHING boat carrying hundreds of people across the Mediterranean has capsized 15 miles off the coast of Libya on Wednesday (August 5). The heavily overcrowded boat is believed to have been carrying migrants hoping to make it to Europe, and it’s feared hundreds may have drowned.
Reports are that the ship sounded a distress signal after getting into difficulties, which was picked up by the Italian coastguard.
Two ships then went to its aid – the Medecins Sans Frontieres vessel Dignity I and an Irish navy ship, part of the EU’s patrol – but it’s believed the panicked passengers may have rushed to one side of the deck seeing rescue on its way, capsizing the fishing boat.
An Irish naval officer told the Associated Press news agency that around 150 people had been spotted in the water, but there have been reports that put the number of people crammed onto the boat as high as 700, suggesting there could be an extremely large-scale loss of life.
There are now four boats assisting in search and rescue work, with support form helicopters.