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200 migrants missing in Mediterranean boat tragedy

11 February 2015, 18:01

Rome - More than 200 migrants are missing after their boats sank in the Mediterranean Sea, according to survivors of the latest tragedy in the area, international agencies said on Wednesday.

Nine survivors landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday, out of more than 200 who had left Libya on Saturday in two rubber dinghies, the international organisation for migration said.

"Nine were saved after four days at sea. The other 203 were swallowed by the waves," UNHCR spokesperson in Italy, Carlotta Sami, said on Twitter.

The IOM said the surviving migrants spoke French, so probably came from West African nations such as Ivory Coast and Senegal.

"Because of the bad weather conditions, the two dinghies collapsed and the people fell at sea. Many drowned," IOM official Flavio Di Giacomo said.

He said the migrants had left with another dinghy carrying a group of Africans, aged 29 of whom were killed by exposure trying to make the short but perilous crossing from Libya to Lampedusa.

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