Over 100 migrants from Africa who set off in an inflatable small boat died in a wreck off Libya's coast, humanitarian workers announced on Saturday.
The scale of the accident became clear after 3 survivors (2 Sudanese and 1 Gambian) were rescued by the Italian Navy and brought to shore on Lampedusa Island (Italian Pelagie Islands, Mediterranean Sea). The survivors told aid workers that a total of 117 migrants had died.
According to the survivors, they had about 10 women (one of them pregnant) and 2 toddlers (1 just 2 months old). The migrants were from Sudan and West Africa countries.
The boat had set out on Thursday from Garabulli (Libya) and in about 10 hours started deflating and taking on water.
When an Italian Navy aircraft on a security mission spotted the craft around fifty nautical miles northeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli, the vessel had started sinking and roughly twenty people could be seen onboard.
After launching a pair of inflatable rafts to the migrants, it called another helicopter, as their closest ship was well beyond 110 nautical mi from the shipwreck.
The helicopter rescued the three survivors and brought them to the hospital on Lampedusa island.
On Friday night, the Italian Navy announced the rescue operations had concluded after the search for the dinghy had proved fruitless.