More than 60 Migrants Die As Boat Capsizes

( – More than 60 people are dead after a boat carrying 86 migrants who were trying to reach Europe capsized off the coast of Libya.

Sixty-one migrants, including women and children, drowned when strong waves swamped the boat off the western coast of Libya, near the town of Zuwara, according to a statement from U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The boat capsized during the night of Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, according to the statement from the organization.

In a Dec. 17 statement from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, stated its plane had located a partially deflated rubber boat Dec. 14 within the search and rescue zone for Libya. Frontex said the people aboard the boat were in danger due to “adverse weather conditions,” including wave heights of 8.2 feet.

A hotline for migrants who are in distress, Alarm Phone, posted a tweet stating that the volunteer group received a message from some of the migrants onboard the boat. The group then alerted authorities, including the Libyan coastguard, who said “they would not search” for the people on the capsized boat.

On Twitter, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration called that area of the Mediterranean Sea “one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes.”

Officials say that thousands of migrants have died on this route over the years attempting to get to Europe. An International Organization for Migration spokesperson, Flavio Di Giacomo, stated that over 2,250 people have died this year on the Central European route. On Twitter, Di Giacomo wrote that it is “a dramatic figure,” adding that “not enough is being done to save lives at sea.”

So far this year, about 14,900 migrants, including more than 1,000 women and 530 children, were intercepted and returned to Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration’s missing migrants project. Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 18, more than 940 migrants have been reported dead and more than 1,248 have been reported missing off the coast of Libya.

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