More than 50 migrants die in Mediterranean crossings
Tunis, Jun 3: More than 50 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean on Sunday. Tunisian authorities said 47 bodies were recovered off the country's southern coast, close to the city of Sfax, while 68 people were rescued.
Italy marked a sea change in its policy.
"The coastguard and the navy continue their search with the support of a military plane," the interior ministry said in a statement. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said there were more than 70 survivors from the shipwreck, with spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo cautioning on Twitter that the final number of missing was still uncertain.
"There were around 180 of us on board the boat... which sank because of a leak," a survivor told Tunisia's Mosaique FM radio, describing the boat as around nine metres (30 feet) long.
Tunisians and migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe, with 120 mainly Tunisians rescued by their navy in March after trying to reach Italy. In October, a collision between a migrant boat and a Tunisian military ship left at least 44 dead, in what Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called a "national disaster".
The latest shipwreck is the most deadly in the Mediterranean since February 2 when 90 people drowned off the coast of Libya, according to the IOM.
Across the Mediterranean, nine migrants including six children drowned when their vessel sank off the coast of Turkey.
The group were travelling in a speedboat intending to head illegally to Europe, when the boat hit trouble off the coast of the southern Antalya province, state media reports said. Turkey was the main sea route for migrants to Europe in 2015, when more than a million people crossed to Greece.