35 Tunisian migrants missing after boat capsizes

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 10:52

Rome: Up to 35 migrants sailing from Tunisia to Italy were missing after the boat they were travelling in capsized, Italian port authorities were quoted by ANSA news agency as saying.

The report, which said the boat capsized on Monday shortly after departing from the port of Zarzis in southern Tunisia, came as hundreds of mostly Tunisian migrants landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

ANSA said 12 boats carrying 816 migrants have arrived in the past few hours.

In Tunisia, neither the police not the army were able to confirm the incident, but one member of the emergency services in the Tunisian port of Zarzis said a navy vessel had been sent to the suspected accident zone.
One taxi driver in the town, who asked not to be named, said he had seen a heavily overloaded boat leave the port on Sunday afternoon.

It had left the port "with more than a hundred people on board when its normal capacity must be around 50," he told AFP early Tuesday.

The report also quoted five migrants on one of the boats as saying that they were rescued from the boat that capsized, which was carrying 40 people.
Thousands of Tunisians have arrived in Lampedusa in recent weeks, with many making the perilous Mediterranean crossing on rickety fishing boats.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen visited Lampedusa on Monday and warned that Europe could no longer accept undocumented migrants from North Africa.


First Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 10:52

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