Almost 130 migrants feared dead in Med after shipwreck: IOM agency

The migrant boat quickly foundered.

The statement, which was released yesterday by IOM, said that 126 people had disappeared from the same boat, with four migrants reportedly having been rescued.

Two Nigerian men and two Sudanese men who survived in the water were picked up by Libyan fishermen and put on another migrant dinghy which was intercepted by the Italian coastguard, who took them to Palermo.

The four survivors told the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency, that their dinghy left Libya for Italy on Thursday.

After drifting for a while, the boat, believed to have been carrying 130 refugees - majority of Sudanese and Nigerian nationality - capsized.

According to testimony from four survivors brought to Italy, the refugees - mainly Sudanese - left on Thursday from Libya trying to make the unsafe crossing to Europe, Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday. "They are valuable to the smugglers", Di Giacomo told the newspaper The Telegraph.

Migrants on a wooden boat are rescued by "Save the Children" NGO crew from the ship Vos Hestia in the Mediterranean sea off Libya coast, June 18, 2017.

Arrivals of migrants to Italy are up nearly 18 percent on the same period past year at more than 65,000, Italy's Interior Ministry said earlier this week. The death toll passed 1,000 in April - marking a record high with that figure not reached until the end of May previous year - and the latest count by the IOM shows at least 1,850 have lost their lives on the risky crossing.

  • Leroy Wright