TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Four people drowned and two were missing after the inflatable boat they were on sank off the coast of Tunisia after departing for Europe, Tunisian authorities said Tuesday.
Amid a protracted economic and social crisis in Tunisia, more and more young people and sometimes entire families are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of finding better lives on the other side.
The boat that sank Monday in bad weather off Cape Angela, about 60 kilometers (36 miles) from the capital, Tunis, was believed to be carrying 16 people and bound for Italy, according to Tunisian authorities.
The coast guard said it had rescued 10 people and recovered four bodies as of Tuesday while personnel from Tunisia’s navy and civil protection service combed the area in search of the two missing.
Last month, the deaths of 18 migrants from Zarzis in southern Tunisia shook the town. In September, eight people died when their boat capsized off the port of Chebba, one of the main points of departure for asylum-seekers hoping to reach Italy.
The Tunisian coast guard regularly intercepts boats trying to make the dangerous sea crossing. The International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 1,300 migrants have died or gone missing on the central Mediterranean route this year, many of whom left from Tunisia.
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