7 migrants killed in boat capsize off Italian waters
Seven migrants were killed and 46 others rescued after their boat capsized off the island of Lampedusa, Italy's Coast Guard said in a statement.
A search for possible survivors is ongoing, the statement said on Wednesday.
The eight-metre vessel loaded with some 60 people capsized after the Coast Guard intervened to rescue those on board, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Coast Guard said it intervened after receiving a distress call from a migrant on board the vessel, which was in distress "about seven nautical miles from Lampedusa, within the Italian Search and Rescue (SAR) zone".
"News of the tragic shipwreck off Lampedusa today highlights once more the urgent need for an EU-led and proactive sea patrol system to reduce loss of life at sea," tweeted Antonio Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
"At least 700 people drowned attempting the Central Mediterranean crossing this year," Vitorino tweeted.
On June 22, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, had said that "the number of illegal border crossings (into the European Union) in the first five months of 2021 reached 47,100, 47 per cent more than a year ago when irregular migration dropped due to Covid". -IANS