Tragedy struck off a Libyan coast when at least 239 migrants died in two shipwrecks according to the United Nations.
According to Carlotta Sami, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, the information was confirmed by two survivors brought ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa.
The first dinghy – which carried around 140 people, including six children and about 20 women, some pregnant – sank when wooden planks laid at the bottom broke, causing the dinghy to capsize 40km off the Libyan coast, the UNHCR said. Twenty-nine people were rescued and 12 bodies were recovered.
In a separate operation, two women found swimming at sea told rescuers that 128 other people had died in their wreck.
Chief spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Leonard Doyle, said 4,220 lives had now been lost in the Mediterranean so far this year.
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