STRASBOURG, France (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency says up to 500 people are feared dead in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea last week.
UNHCR says the disaster happened in the waters between Italy and Libya, based on accounts from 41 survivors who were rescued on April 16 by a merchant ship.
The survivors said they had been among 100 to 200 people who left a town near Tobruk, Libya, on a smugglers' boat last week. The agency says Wednesday that "after sailing for several hours, the smugglers in charge of the boat attempted to transfer the passengers to a larger ship carrying hundreds of people in terribly overcrowded conditions."
The agency says "at one point during the transfer, the larger boat capsized and sank."