Up to 40 people are feared dead after a migrant boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Europe-bound vessel overturned off the coast of Libya with reports of a major loss of life.
The UN refugee agency said: “Terrible news coming in of potentially large loss of life in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya.” Around 100 people were on the ship and Libya’s coast guard says it has retrieved five bodies so far.
The UN said that children were among the dead.
A further 60 people have been rescued after the boat overturned close to the western Libyan town of Khoms.
However, at least 40 people are still unaccounted for and rescuers are searching the sea.
Unseaworthy vessels overloaded with migrants trying to reach Europe regularly capsize off Libya.
Last week more than 100 people died, and a boat with about 250 capsized last month. Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Traffickers and armed groups have exploited Libya’s chaos since his overthrow.
It is unclear where in Europe the vessel was heading for, although many are now having to avoid Italy after the far-right government adopted a hardline against any ships.
Over in the UK, Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to meet her French counterpart later this week in a bid to tackle the number of migrant boats going between France and England.
She has given the Home Office 72 hours to come up with a solution following a wave of boats making the journey across the English Channel this month.
On Tuesday, three dinghies were intercepted by Border Force officers off the coast of Dover, Kent.
Last night, it emerged that an Iraqi man had died trying to swim to England with a buoyancy aid made of plastic bottles.
His death comes after an Iranian woman is believed to be the first person to drown off the coast of Kent after her boat capsized earlier this month, reports metro.co.uk.