17 migrants die off Mayotte as boat capsizes
PARIS, Aug 13 (Reuters) Seventeen migrants died when their boat capsized off the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte today, the French ministry for immigration said.
Four survivors were rescued from the boat, the ministry added.
''This new drama tragically highlights the risks taken by traffickers who are exploiting the misery of these migrants,'' it said in a statement, without giving any details on the nationality of the victims.
''The boat, which tried to slip past the coast guard, had taken a difficult route before capsizing,'' it added.
The ministry said an increasing number of migrants from the Comoros islands had tried to reach Mayotte in the past few years, and France had sent back more than 16,000 Comorians from the island last year.
Residents say hundreds of Comorians, Malagasy and mainland Africans die each year making the 50-mile crossing from Anjouan, one of Comoros' three main islands, to Mayotte, which is dangerous in bad weather.
Reuters PD RN2147