250 Migrants Fleeing Libya Missing at Sea

Their boat capsized off the coast of Italy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2011 1:36 PM CDT
250 Migrants Fleeing Libya Missing at Sea
A man is carried on a stretcher upon his arrival in Lampedusa, southern Italy, Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Giorgos Moutafis)

(Newser) – Unintended casualties of the fighting in Libya: About 250 African refugees fleeing the violence remain missing at sea after their boat capsized near Italy. Authorities managed to rescue about 50 people off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa, reports the BBC, but they estimate that 300 people were aboard. Most were natives of sub-Saharan Africa who had found work in Libya.

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"We are still hoping," says a spokesman for Italy's coast guard, which has three ships looking for survivors. The disaster highlights the trouble Italy is having trying to accommodate the flood of refugees reaching its shores, notes the New York Times. More than 20,000 have arrived at Lampedusa since January. (Read more Libya stories.)

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