At least 130 African migrants have died and many more are missing after a boat carrying them to Europe sank off the south Italian island of Lampedusa
More than 100 African migrants have died, with many more missing, after the boat carrying them to Europe, sank.
A total of 103 bodies have been recovered and more have been found inside the wreck, the coast guards say.
Passengers reportedly began throwing themselves into the sea after a fire broke out on board the boat.
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the ship had come from Misrata in Libya and began taking on water when its engine stopped working.
It is thought that some passengers set fire to a piece of material to try to attract the attention of passing ships, but the fire spread to the rest of the boat.
International Organisation for Migration in Rome spokeswoman Simona Moscarelli told the BBC that in order to escape the fire, “the migrants moved, all of them, to one side of the boat which capsized”.
Ms Moscarelli estimated that only six of about 100 women on board had survived, adding that most of the migrants were unable to swim.
“Only the strongest survived,” she said.
The majority of the passengers were Eritrean and Somalian nationals, said the UN.
The boat was believed to have been carrying up to 500 people at the time and some 200 of them are unaccounted for.