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Horror shipwreck kills 41 migrants in deadly crossing from Tunisia to Italy

NewsHorror shipwreck kills 41 migrants in deadly crossing from Tunisia to Italy

An estimated 41 migrants have died as a result of a shipwreck off the coast of Italy, according to survivors.

A group of four people, originally from the Ivory Coast and Guinea, told rescuers that they had on a boat travelling from Sfax in Tunisia which sank near Lampedusa.

In excess of 1,800 people have died so far this year in the crossing from North Africa to Europe.

Tunisian authorities describe Sfax, roughly about 80 miles from Lampedusa, as a popular gateway for migrants trying to access Europe.

Italian patrol boats and charity groups have rescued 2,000 people arriving on the island in recent days.

Days earlier, Dozens of migrants were dramatically rescued on Sunday as they foundered in the sea or clung to a rocky reef after three boats launched by smugglers were shipwrecked in rough waters in separate incidents over the weekend.

Survivors said some 30 fellow migrants were missing from capsized vessels.

In a especially risky operation, two helicopters battled strong winds to pluck to safety, one by one, the migrants, including a child and two pregnant women, who had been stranded for nearly two days on a steep, rocky reef of tiny Lampedusa island.

The migrants had been clinging to the jagged rocks after their boat smashed into the reef late on Friday.

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