The Latest: 35 migrants die as boat sinks off Tunisia

June 03, 2018 - 11:25 am

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on migration into and around Europe (all times local):

5:00 p.m.

Tunisia's defense ministry says at least 35 migrants were killed after their boat sank off the country's coast.

The ministry said in a statement Sunday that the coast guard rescued 68 others, including Tunisians and seven foreigners, during a mission launched overnight and continuing.

The ministry says the boat was transporting about 180 migrants from Tunisia and other African countries.

It sank near Kerkennah island, on the east coast of Tunisia.

In recent months, Tunisia increasingly has become a point of departure for Europe-bound migrants fleeing poverty and conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.


2:20 p.m.

Nine migrants, including six children, have drowned in boat accident off Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

The boat capsized early Sunday morning near the town of Demre in the southern province of Antalya, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard recovered the bodies of nine victims and rescued four others. A fifth migrant was saved by a passing fishing vessel.

Turkey's state-run Anatolia News Agency reports there were 14-15 people on the vessel, according to the migrants, so authorities were still searching for one unaccounted for person. The migrants' nationalities have not been identified.

At the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, more than 857,000 migrants reached Greece from Turkey. A 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union has dramatically reduced the numbers of migrants coming into Greece.


1 p.m.

Spain's maritime rescue service says it has rescued 240 people but one person apparently drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa.

The service says Sunday that its agents spotted a body floating underwater after their rescue ship had saved 41 migrants from a sinking smugglers' boat.

In all, the service says it rescued the 240 people from 11 small boats attempting the perilous crossing from African shores to Spain between Saturday and Sunday.

The U.N. says at least 660 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. Through the first four months of 2018, a total of 22,439 migrants reached European shores, with 4,409 of them arriving in Spain.

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