Migrants missing near Italy coast

Breaking news

Officials say 54 people have been rescued but dozens more are missing after a migrant boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italian and Nato boats are searching the waters around the island.

A distress call to the port in Palermo, Sicily said 100 people were on board the vessel, the Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Lampedusa, about 80 miles (120km) from Tunisia, is one of the nearest gateways to Europe for African migrants.

Italian coast guard Cmdr Filippo Marini said 54 people had been accounted for by early Friday, all of them Tunisian and in good health, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The migrant boat, reported to be 10m (33ft) long, sank about 12 nautical miles off Lampedusa in the early hours of Friday.

In 2011, at least 1,500 people drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, Amnesty International reported.

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