U.N.: At least 240 migrants dead in shipwrecks off Libya

Migrants in a rubber boat near Libya.
(Image credit: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the past 24 hours, at least 240 migrants have drowned off the coast of Libya, despite an attempt by five ships to rescue them, the International Organization for Migration said Thursday.

The organization's chief spokesman, Leonard Doyle, said several rubber dinghies were packed with migrants, and hundreds "succumbed to the waves of Libya in very bad weather." On one dinghy, survivors said they departed Libya at 3 a.m. Wednesday, and started to sink just a few hours later. Of the 26 survivors, 20 were women and six were children from West Africa; rescuers recovered 12 bodies from that wreck.

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