More than 100 migrants and refugees are feared to have drowned after a rubber boat capsized off the coast of Libya, a rescue charity said, adding there was little hope of finding survivors.
European humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee said that the boat, with 130 people on board, was reported in distress on Wednesday in international waters off Libya in addition to two other boats.
A rescue effort, with the NGO’s Ocean Viking and three merchant vessels, was launched.
“Since we arrived on scene today, we have not found any survivors while we could see at least 10 bodies in the vicinity of the wreck. We are heartbroken,” said Luisa Albera, the search-and-rescue coordinator on board the Ocean Viking.
Eugenio Ambrosi, the chief of staff of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that at least 100 lives were lost in the incident that took place in the Central Mediterranean.
“These are the human consequences of policies which fail to uphold international law and the most basic of humanitarian imperatives,” he wrote on Twitter.
The shipwreck was the latest along the Central Mediterranean migration route, where about 350 migrants have died this year.
Since 2014, more than 20,000 migrants and refugees have died at sea while trying to reach Europe from Africa.
More than 17,000 of those have been on the Central Mediterranean which is described by the UN as the most dangerous migration route in the world.