Death toll in sunk boat off Italy could top 200, dozens still missing: reports
The disaster took place on Thursday off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, when a fishing boat carrying about 500 African migrants caught fire and sank.
Italian authorities have previously put the death toll at 94, including several women and four small children.
But according to the ANSA news agency, divers have found around 100 more bodies under the wreck of the boat that was carrying them from Libya.
Dozens of others are still missing and unaccounted for.
The 20-meter vessel caught fire after the migrants, mainly from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia according to media reports, set fire to a blanket after the ship started to take water in order to attract the attention of passing ships.
But the fire soon spread to the rest of the boat, and the ship capsided as migrants moved to avoid the fire.
"We decided to light a fire to get us notice. But the bridge was contaminated with oils, and in a few moments the boat was engulfed in flames," one of the migrants was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Divers were still searching for possible survivors of the deadliest accidents over recent months in the Mediterranean Sea crossing that thousands of African migrants make every year.
So far, 155 people have been rescued.
The ANSA news agency said the Italian police had detained one of the survivors - a Tunisian national suspected of being the "human trafficker."
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta described the accident as a huge tragedy. He rushed to the scene with Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.
Thousands of African migrants try the hazardous Mediterranean crossing to Italy every year. A recent study found some 6,200 migrants had died in southern Italian waters since 1994.
Related news releases
- 29.09.2016Turkey declares 15 July as 'Day of Democracy and Freedoms'
- 29.09.2016Turkey's security council recommends extending emergency
- 29.09.2016Turkish jets hit PKK shelters, gun positions
- 28.09.2016Swiss military helicopter crashes in Alps, 2 pilots killed
- 27.09.2016Turkey vital for Europe, says UK FM
- 27.09.2016U.S. hotels in Adana, Turkey, could be targets of attacks -U.S. consulate
- 27.09.2016Armenian nuclear plant should be shut down: Turkey
- 27.09.2016Portugal's Guterres leads race for U.N. chief after fifth ballot
- 27.09.2016'Ottoman' Boris Johnson makes first visit to Turkey since Erdogan poem
- 26.09.2016Police say man opens fire, injuring two, near supermarket west of Paris
- 26.09.2016At least 10 Turkish troops killed in PKK attacks
- 25.09.2016Hollande vows to tear down notorious Calais refugee camp
- 25.09.2016Massive explosion rocks crowded street in Budapest injuring two police officers
- 24.09.2016Turkish vessel sinks off Sicily coast, 16 crew members rescued
- 24.09.2016EU to Create New Office to Return Undocumented Migrants - Commissioner
- 24.09.2016Video emerges of N Carolina shooting - VİDEO
- 24.09.2016Hungary PM says Europe should process refugees in Libya
- 23.09.2016Dutch Air Force Commander: More virtual training needed on F-35s
- 23.09.2016Erdogan urges cooperation with US to 'finish off İSİS'
- 23.09.2016Turkey wants to bring cooperation with Russia to higher than pre-crisis level
- 22.09.2016Rocket fired from Syria lands in southern Turkey, six injuries
- 22.09.20162 PKK terrorists killed in operation in eastern Turkey
- 22.09.2016Village guard martyred in southeast Turkey
- 22.09.2016Greece to House Refugees on Ferries Following Massive Fire at Moria Camp
- 22.09.2016Russian, Turkish leaders discuss Syria, bilateral ties
- 22.09.2016Turkish army destroys 103 Daesh targets in north Syria
- 21.09.2016Assailant prevented from breaking into Israeli embassy in Ankara
- 21.09.2016Erdogan slams EU’s failure to keep promises to Turkey
- 21.09.2016Turkish President urges world leaders to immediately take all necessary steps against FETO
- 20.09.2016Turkish president: " West may not, but we will keep on admitting Syrian refugees"
- 20.09.2016Turkish FM: "Turkey continues to support Syria truce"
- 20.09.2016EU to slap sanctions on ISIS, al-Qaeda
- 20.09.2016German economic growth to slow down in Q3: central bank
- 20.09.20162 Italians, Canadian abducted by gunmen in S. Libya
- 20.09.2016Juncker needs no protection from tough questions, EU says
- 17.09.2016Protests in Germany against transatlantic TTIP and CETA trade deals
- 17.09.2016Two soldiers killed, four wounded in clashes with PKK in Turkey
- 17.09.2016Bratislava summit shows Europe can move forward, Hollande says
- 17.09.2016Hungarian PM says EU migrant policy self-destructive, Germany should cap numbers
- 17.09.2016Merkel says EU reform agenda from Bratislava a first but key step
- 04.10.2013Sweden supports Albania's EU membership
- 04.10.2013Erdogan not to have an exact decision yet to become President of Turkey
- 04.10.2013Turkey questions its EU future as Brussels looks to Balkans
- 04.10.2013French citizens killed in Madagascar organ trafficking induced violence
- 03.10.2013EU's Ashton says crucial for all to join Egypt political process
- 03.10.2013Hungarian gov't miffed over Croatian arrest warrant for oil firm chief