Migrant boat carrying hundreds capsizes in Mediterranean

A rescue operation is under way after a migrant boat carrying hundreds of people capsized south of the Greek island of Crete.The International Organisation for migration said more than 700 people were believed to have been on board on the boat. The Greek coastguard said it had heard that there were 400 or 500 people on board, but that it could it not confirm the number. More than 340 people have been rescued and four bodies recovered, the coastguard said.

“The number of people in distress could be counted in the hundreds,” a Greek coastguard spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse. “People are in the water, boats crossing the area have thrown lifebuoys and are moving to save the migrants.”

She said a passing ship spotted the sinking vessel about 75 nautical miles south of Crete in the southern Aegean Sea. The coastguard rushed two patrol boats, a plane and a helicopter to the scene while at least four ships in the area joined the rescue. About half of the roughly 82ft boat was underwater.

Separately, Libya’s navy spokesman said that more than 100 bodies had been recovered after a boat capsized off its shores in an incident last week.

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