Not less than eight migrants drowned and almost 90 others went missing after a shipwreck off Libya, a local official citing survivors who had clung onto the sinking vessel for days said on Thursday.
The Libyan navy said the shipwreck occurred off the coast of Sabratha, a town west of Tripoli that is a hub for illegal migration to Europe and from where the vessel had set off.
Eight bodies were found and 35 migrants rescued on Tuesday and Wednesday, Seddik al-Jayach, an official in Zuwara, further west, told AFP.
Survivors had clung onto the sinking vessel for five days before it ran aground on a beach near his town, he said.
According to survivors, the ship was carrying between 120 and 130 migrants of different African nationalities, including women and children, he said.
Last week, Libya’s coastguard rescued more than 3,000 migrants aiming to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, while Italy picked up another 2,000.
Though the numbers attempting the dangerous voyage have dropped off significantly in recent months, the rescues indicate the route is still very much open.
The tally was the highest reported out of Libya for a one-week period since a dramatic fall in numbers in mid-July.