The Libyan navy says at least 90 migrants are believed to have perished Thursday when their rickety boat started to fall apart in the Mediterranean Sea after leaving the Libyan coast. The boat, which was made of rubber, tore and began filling with water about 26 miles off the Libyan coast, an area considered to be international waters, a navy spokesman says. The Libyan coast guard rescued 29 survivors, who recounted that there were 129 of them in all on the boat, mostly African nationals, the navy spokesman says.
So far this year, the death toll for migrants in the Mediterranean has reached at least 3,800, making 2016 the deadliest year ever for migrants at sea, the AP reports. Migrants fleeing war and poverty increasingly take the dangerous journey from Libya to Italy on overcrowded boats, hoping to make their way to new lives in Europe. In a separate incident, Doctors Without Borders said on Wednesday that its personnel recovered the bodies of 25 migrants aboard an overcrowded inflatable raft in the Mediterranean. The group says the victims likely died of fuel inhalation, and that the potent mixture of gasoline and water hampered the recovery efforts. The operation rescued 246 people on two rafts.