Tunis, 11 June 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The death toll in the sinking of a migrant boat off Tunisia earlier this week has risen to at least 45, a humanitarian official said on Thursday.
Initially, bodies of 20 migrants were retrieved after the boat, which was heading for Italy’s coast, sank off the Tunisian city of Sfax.
The boat is believed to have been carrying 53 migrants at the time of the incident.
“The confirmed number of the retrieved bodies today is at least 45, while search operations continue for others who might have gone missing,” Anis Hakim, the head of the Red Crescent in Sfax, told dpa.
The bodies retrieved included those of 23 women and two children, Sfax courts spokesman Murad al-Turki said.
The majority of the deceased migrants came from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the official added.
A spokesman for the coast guard previously told dpa that the boat set sail on Saturday, and that some bodies had been found on Sunday night.
The Tunisian coast has become a common launch point for thousands of migrants, including Tunisians, seeking a better life in Europe.