The Italian coastguard on Monday said the death toll from a migrant shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa has risen to nine.
Earlier, the coastguard said it recovered two bodies and rescued 22 survivors after the capsizing of a migrant vessel carrying about 50 people.
Seven more bodies were recovered during an ongoing search for the missing, a new statement from the coastguard said.
According to the ANSA news agency, survivors told their rescuers that eight children were among those missing at sea.
Flavio Di-Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), tweeted that the boat had set off from Tunisia and was carrying “Tunisians and western African migrants.’’
Di-Giacomo said the first two confirmed victims of the shipwreck were two women.
The shipwreck happened shortly after midnight some 11 kilometres off Lampedusa, a small Island that is roughly halfway between Sicily and Tunisia.
The migrants’ vessel capsized in rough sea conditions because migrants rushed to one side as two Italian rescue units approached it, the coastguard said. (dpa/NAN)