UNHCR says up to 240 dead in wrecks off Libya
CALAIS, France - The U.N. refugee agency says survivor accounts indicate as many as 240 people have died in two shipwrecks off Libya. No bodies have been recovered.
UNHCR spokeswoman in Italy Carlotta Sami says 31 survivors of two shipwrecks who arrived on Thursday on the Italian island of Lampedusa reported that their boats capsized in heavy seas.
Sami said 29 people survived the first wreck, reporting that about 120 people had gone missing. And in a separate operation, two women found swimming at sea told rescuers another 120 people had died in that wreck.
In both cases, most of the people on board appeared to have been sub-Saharan Africans, but Sami said aid workers were still ascertaining details.
Sami said the latest reported deaths bring to over 4,220 the number of people dead or missing in the Mediterranean this year, the highest toll on record.