About 300 migrants probably died at sea in recent days: U.N. agency

Reuters News
|
Posted: Feb 11, 2015 4:50 AM

ROME (Reuters) - An estimated 300 people probably died after attempting to reach Italy from Libya in three inflatable rafts, the U.N. refugee agency said on Wednesday after speaking to survivors rescued by Italy's coast guard in the past few days.

Three boats, each carrying about 100 people, are missing, according to interviews with survivors from two of the boats on the Italian island of Lampedusa, Barbara Molinario, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency told Reuters.

The three boats had left Libya together with another one from which the coast guard picked up 105 people on Sunday in extreme sea conditions and with the temperature hovering just a few degrees above zero. Twenty-nine from that boat died of hypothermia in the 18 hours it took the coast guard to ferry them to Italy.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; editing by James Mackenzie)