A search and rescue ship saved 128 migrants trying to reach Europe on an overcrowded dinghy Friday but found two on board had died, the NGO operating it said.
“Today, in a five-hour operation in increasingly dangerous weather conditions, Ocean Viking rescued 128 men, women and children,” SOS Mediterranee said on Twitter.
“Sadly, two people were found deceased on the overcrowded rubber boat,” it said.
“Due to the extreme weather conditions, we were only able to recover one body.”
North Africa is a major conduit for migrants, particularly from African countries ravaged by war and poverty, to make desperate bids to reach Europe.
Many end up drowning in the attempt, making the central Mediterranean the world’s deadliest migration route.
Around 2,000 migrants were missing or confirmed drowned in the Mediterranean last year, up from 1,401 in 2020, the International Organization for Migration says.
It says more than 23,500 migrants have gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2014, most in the central part of the sea.
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