ROME—As many as 700 migrants are believed to have died in a shipwreck about 70 miles from the Libyan coast, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
According to statements from survivors given to the UNHCR, a fishing boat carrying more than 700 people capsized during the night from Saturday and Sunday.
The 20-meter-long fishing boat, which was heavily overcrowded, launched a distress call during the night, the Italian Coast Guard said. The Italians sent a Portuguese mercantile vessel, the King Jacob, to help the boat, but when the migrants saw the ship approach, they rushed to one side, forcing the boat to capsize. Rescue teams saved 28 people and have recovered 24 bodies so far.