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10 migrants killed in shipwreck near Italy

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Rome, May 12 :

At least 10 migrants were killed while crossing from North Africa to Italy when their ship capsised south of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, local reports said Monday.

The packed ship, which was reportedly transporting around 400 people, capsized some 185 km off the coast of southern Italy, in Libyan waters, Xinhua reported Monday.

“We do not know yet how many people were on board, but survivors say there were hundreds,” Lampedusa port captain Giuseppe Cannarile was quoted as saying by Rai state radio.

“We are on the spot and are working tirelessly,” he said.

Some merchant ships were also helping in the rescue operations, which have so far pulled to safety around 240 people, Xinhua quoted Rai state radio as saying.

An earlier report quoted the Italian Coast Guard as saying a ship packed with migrants sank 100 miles off the coast of southern Italy, leading to the death of several people on board.

The mishap follows a similar sinking off the coast of Libya Sunday, in which roughly 40 Italy-bound migrants died, ANSA reported.

In a programme called Mare Nostrum, Italy has ramped up search-and-rescue missions around its maritime boundaries since last October when two shipwrecks off the coast of Sicily killed roughly 400 migrants.

(IANS)