Dozens of migrants missing off Libya’s coast

TMP – 20/07/2017

About 40 migrants, including seven children, are presumed to have drowned off the coast of Libya when their rubber boat sank. The body of one woman has already been recovered.

“The boat sank ten kilometres northwest of Garabulli, and 10 fishing boats took part in the rescue,” Libyan coast guard spokesman General Ayoub Qassem said. Around 85 migrants were rescued by the fishing boats.

“The fishing boats spotted the migrants at sea off Garabulli’s shores, 60 kilometres east of Tripoli. Due to the heavy load on the rubber boat, the wooden base broke and it started sinking,” Muammar Mohamed Milad, a local coast guard official, explained.

Most of the migrants, 18 of whom were women, came from Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Vivian Effoussa, from Nigeria, described how she saw fellow passengers fall into the sea.

“The boat we entered was leaking. All of a sudden… the water was (coming) inside. Everybody started shouting. Gradually, gradually, we see ourselves inside the sea.

“Everybody was dragging each other. They even pulled my hair, dragging me. Really, I didn’t think the sea was as big as this,” Effousa said, adding that if she had known what the journey would entail she would not have left Nigeria.