Scores of bodies of African migrants washed ashore in Libya’s western city of Zawiya on the Mediterranean, a spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent said Tuesday - the latest tragedy at sea after migrant deaths rose to record levels along the key smuggling route over the past months.
At least 74 bodies were found in Zawiya, according to Red Crescent’s spokesman Mohammed al-Misrati, who feared an even higher death toll. He said that a torn rubber boat was found nearby and that he expected more bodies to surface as such boats usually carry up to 120 people.
Al-Misrati told The Associated Press that the bodies were found on Monday morning and that the Red Crescent workers retrieved them between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The aid agency posted on its Twitter account photographs of dozens of bodies in white and black body bags, lined up along the shore. Al-Misrati said the local authorities would take the bodies to a cemetery in the capital of Tripoli that is allocated for unidentified persons.
Libyan coast guard spokesman Ayoub Gassim said over 500 migrants were rescued at sea on Friday and Saturday off the shore of the city of Sebratha, which is to the west of Zawiya. The migrants’ boats were 5-7 miles from the coast of Libya.