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A woman sits next to the coffin of a drowned loved one off the coast of Tunisia A woman sits next to the coffin of a loved one who drowned off the coast of Tunisia  (AFP or licensors)

Migrants drown off Tunisian coast after boat sinks

Rescuers off Tunisia have saved at least 60 lives after a vessel with about 180 migrants onboard sank.

By Nathan Morley

The vessel was literally packed to the rafters, with 180 people squeezed onboard. Once the boat hit trouble and began sinking, the captain fled.

The tragedy killed 47 people.

Miraculously, 68 others were rescued off Tunisia’s southern coast, but the death toll is expected to rise, as authorities suspect many bodies have been washed away.

Most of those onboard were Tunisian. Some survived by clinging to debris for over 10-hours, others were lucky enough to be wearing flimsy life jackets.

So far this year, around 660 people have died or gone missing whist attempting to reach Europe in un-seaworthy boats.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 32,080 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 150 days of 2018.

04 June 2018, 17:19