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Tunisian migrant boat sinks near Italy, 50 dead

 
 
 
 
 
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A boat carrying Tunisian migrants enters the port of Lampedusa, Italy.

About 50 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been feared dead after their boat sank off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italian rescue services said on Friday that search operation continued by the coastguard who had called on private vessels and teams to join them, AFP reported.

Earlier in the day, the Italian coastguard and NATO ships saved 56 people from drowning in the sea when they received an emergency call from the fateful boat.

The survivors, seemingly all Tunisians, said the boat was carrying 136 illegal immigrants including 10 women and 6 children.

After the boat sank, some passengers swam to the shore and others were lifted from the water by rescuers.

Coastguard spokesman Filippo Marini said that the search operation would continue “as long as there is hope of finding survivors”.

The survivors “are in good health, although they are suffering from hypothermia,” after staying for hours in the water, Marini added.

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