Survivors report 240 dead in 2 Mediterranean shipwrecks
Survivors say as many as 240 people have died in two shipwrecks off Libya, the U.N. refugee agency reported Thursday, bringing this year's toll to more than 4,220 migrants dead or missing in risky Mediterranean Sea crossings, the highest count on record. Carlotta Sami, a U.N. spokes-woman in Italy, said 31 survivors of two shipwrecks arriving on the southern Italian island of Lampe-dusa said that the rubber dinghies they were traveling in had capsized Wednesday in heave seas shortly after leaving Libya. The first dinghy, with about 140 people - including six children and about 20 women, some pregnant - sank when wooden planks broke, causing dinghy to capsize 25 miles off the Libyan coast, the UN HCR said. Twenty-nine people were rescued; 12 bodies were recovered. In both bases reported Thursday, most people on board appeard to have been sub-Saharan Africans.