BFF-36 Three migrants dead, 15 missing off Libya: Italian navy

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BFF-36

EUROPE-MIGRANTS-ITALY-LIBYA

Three migrants dead, 15 missing off Libya: Italian navy

ROME, Jan 19, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Three migrants died and about 15 were
missing off the Libyan coast, the Italian navy said Saturday, after staging a
rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

The navy intervened on Friday and a helicopter rescued three people
suffering from hypothermia who were flown to the southern Italian island of
Lampedusa, Admiral Fabio Agostini said.

This was after Italian air force pilots “spotted a dinghy in distress
carrying about 20 people,” he told Italian television in an interview tweeted
by the navy.

“Three corpses were seen floating in the water during the operation,” he
said, adding that the rescuers had been unable to locate the dinghy.

A Red Crescent spokesman meanwhile said 16 bodies had been found on the
beaches of the Libyan city of Sirte between January 2 and 15.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 83 people
have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean.

It said the number of migrants and refugees landing on European shores had
almost doubled in the first 16 days of this year to 4,216 against 2,365 over
the same period in 2018.

BSS/AFP/RY/1932 hrs