ROME (AP) — A migrant ship carrying around 100 people capsized in the frigid waters off Libya on Saturday and only four survivors had been rescued after hours of searching, aid groups said.
Eight bodies were recovered but poor conditions were hampering the search taking place 30 miles (50 kilometers) off Libya's coast, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.
Flavio di Giacomo, Rome spokesman for the International Organization of Migration, said four people had been rescued out of an estimated 110 aboard. He said more details would become available after the four are brought to shore.
The vast majority of migrant ships set off from Libya's lawless coasts, where smugglers operate with impunity charging desperate migrants hundreds of dollars apiece to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing.
Last year saw a record high number — 181,000 people — heading to Italy by sea, the EU rescue operation Frontex reported. West Africans, most of them hailing from Nigeria, accounted for most of the migrants in 2016, with a 10-fold increase in their numbers since 2010, Frontex reported.