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Thirty-five migrants killed after boat sinks off Tunisia coast

Sky News logo Sky News 03/06/2018
Human traffickers use Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe. File pic © Reuters Human traffickers use Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe. File pic

Thirty-five migrants have died and 67 others rescued after their boat sank off the Tunisia coast.

The rescue of more people, who are of Tunisian and other nationalities, is ongoing, the ministry said.

Security officials said the boat was packed with about 180 migrants, including 80 from other African countries.

The interior ministry reported a distress call on Saturday night at 10:45 pm from "a fishing boat about to sink" with migrants on board.

Tunisians and seven foreigners were among the survivors, including nationals from Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco and Cameroon, said a defence ministry spokesman.

He added: "The coastguard and the navy continue their search with the support of a military plane.

"Units of the Sfax Marine Guard and the Navy went to the boat which was five nautical miles from Kerkennah island and 16 nautical miles from the city of Sfax."

Human traffickers increasingly use Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe.

Unemployed Tunisians and other Africans often try to depart in makeshift boats from Tunisia to Sicily in Italy.

Meanwhile, nine migrants, including six children drowned in boat accident off Turkey's Mediterranean coast

The boat capsized early on Sunday morning near the town of Demre in the southern province of Antalya, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.

The coastguard recovered the bodies of nine victims and rescued four others while a fifth migrant was saved by a passing fishing vessel.

Turkey's state-run Anatolia News Agency reported there were 14-15 people on the vessel, according to the migrants and authorities are still searching for one unaccounted for person.

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