TRIPOLI (Sputnik) – According to spokesman Ayoub Qassem, the vessel carrying 126 people sank on Wednesday 26 miles away from the lighthouse of Tajura and was spotted by a tanker which alerted the coastguard. As many as 29 people were rescued by the tanker.
"The coast guard … is looking for the remaining missing persons, the number of whom is estimated at 97," Qassem said.
Europe is currently struggling to cope with a massive refugee influx, with hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the UN refugee agency, the Mediterranean Sea claimed over 3,600 lives last year.