At least 40 migrants suffocated in hold of overcrowded ship off Libyan coast

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Flickr by Irish Defence Forces
Irish Naval Service personnel from the LÉ Eithne rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton, June 2015

MORE than 300 migrants have been saved, but at least 40 are reported to have died, as an overcrowded ship heading for Italy got into trouble in the Mediterranean sea north of Libya.

The Italian navy reported on Sunday that the rescue was ongoing and victims were still being counted.

Those dead were found in the hold of the boat and are suspected to have suffocated after inhaling fuel fumes, with navy captain Massimo Tozzi reporting that the dead had been found “immersed in water, fuel and excrement.”

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Interior Minister Angelino Alfaco has made a call to the international community, stating that: “the crisis in Libya is an active volcano that is opposite not just Italy but all of Europe.”

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