65 people die as migrant boat capsizes off Tunisia

At least 65 migrants have died after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of Tunisia.


According to the UN refugee agency, sixteen people were rescued. Survivors say the boat left Zuwara in Libya on Thursday and ran into trouble during strong waves.


So far, about 164 people have died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019, UNHCR figures show.


The incident is thought to be one of the deadliest shipwrecks involving migrants since the start of the year. The survivors were brought to the coast by the Tunisian Navy and are awaiting permission to disembark. One person has been transferred to hospital for medical treatment, the UNHCR says.


The navy dispatched a ship as soon as it heard about the incident and came across a fishing boat picking up survivors, a statement from the Tunisian defence ministry said. The passengers are understood to have been from sub-Saharan Africa.  “This is a tragic and terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those who attempt to cross the Mediterranean,” the UNHCR’s Vincent Cochetel said in a statement.