Hundreds of migrants drown as boats capsize off Libya coast

A Spanish aid organisation says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats while the search for a third vessel reported missing has so far proved futile.

A sunken rubber boat discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)

Proactiva Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza said their vessel was heading north Friday to the Italian port of Catania to hand over the bodies of the five young men found a day earlier.

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She said other NGOs are continuing the search for possible victims off the coast of Libya.

The U.N. refugee agency said it was “deeply alarmed” by the reports. Both it and Proactiva said they feared the death toll may be much higher as migrant dinghies are normally crammed with some 120 people each.