Up to 500 Drowned Crossing Mediterranean From Libya

     MANHATTAN (CN) — U.N. human rights officials said Tuesday that based on interviews with survivors, a large ship appears to have sunk in the Mediterranean Sea killing as many as 500 migrants and refugees crossing from Libya toward Europe.
     The United Nations High Commission on Refugees said that the agency spoke to survivors of incident at sea, which occurred at an unknown site between Libya and Italy.
     Of the 41 survivors, the U.N. says that 37 were men, three were women and one was three-year-old child.
     By nationality, 23 came from Somalia, 11 from Ethiopia, and six from Egypt, the agency said.
     A merchant ship rescued them and took them to Kalamata, in the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece, on Saturday, the agency said.
     The United Nations said that survivors reported having been among a group of between 100 and 200 people who departed on a 30-meter boat from Libya last week that smugglers took over mere hours into the trip.
     The survivors told the U.N. officials that, when the smugglers tried to transfer them to a larger ship, the second boat capsized and sank.
     “They drifted at sea possibly for three days before being spotted and rescued on April 16,” the agency’s press release said.
     The agency says it conducted the interview at a local stadium of Kalamata, which has served as their temporary housing.

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