The Straits Times
Published on Sep 08, 2012

Dozens feared dead after migrant boat sinks off Italy


ROME (AFP) - Rescuers searched on Friday for around 50 migrants feared drowned after their boat sank off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa overnight, Italian rescue services said.

The Italian coastguard and nearby North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) ships rescued 56 people from the sea after receiving a distress call from the sinking boat, which survivors said had been carrying 136 people including 10 women and six children.

The coastguard also called on private vessels and teams from local deep-sea diving centres to join the search.

Coastguard spokesman Filippo Marini said one body had been found and that the search would continue "as long as there is hope of finding survivors".