4 bodies found off Tunisia in apparent migrant boat accident
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian authorities recovered the bodies of four people believed to be African migrants, including a pregnant woman, off the coast of Kerkennah Island in the Mediterranean, the regional prosecutor said Monday.
The bodies were handed over to the regional hospital in the city of Sfax, Prosecutor Faouzi Masmoudi told The Associated Press.
They were found early Sunday and appeared to have drowned several days earlier, he said. Asked about online references to a newborn baby being among the dead, he said that only adult bodies were found.
Tunisian authorities believe the people set out from Tunisia or neighboring Libya on a boat. The authorities are investigating what happened and seeking any information about other passengers.
Thousands of people are believed to have crossed from Tunisia into Europe this year. Many are fleeing conflict or poverty elsewhere in Africa. But a growing number are Tunisians, young people or entire families whose country is struggling with a protracted and worsening economic crisis and political tension.
Many die on the dangerous journey. The International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project estimates some 2,000 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean this year, most on the central Mediterranean route that includes Tunisia.