Body count from migrant boat disaster off Italy rises to 111

Reuters

LAMPEDUSA, Italy, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Italian rescue workershave pulled 111 bodies from the migrant boat that sank off theisland of Lampedusa on Thursday and expect to recover more thana hundred more from the submerged wreck, a coastguard officialsaid on Friday.

Authorities have rescued 155 survivors after the 20-metre(66-foot) boat carrying around 500 migrants, mostly Eritreansand Somalis, sank no more than 1 kilometre (half a mile) fromshore.

"Two motorboats remained in the area overnight and thismorning divers resumed work but we expect to recover more than ahundred bodies from the ship," coast guard official FlorianaSegreto told Reuters.

In all, more than 300 people are believed to have died inone of the worst tragedies in Europe's decades-long migrantcrisis.

The disaster was triggered when fuel aboard caught fire,causing a panicked rush to one side of the boat which capsizedand sank, throwing hundreds of people into the water.

Italy is holding a day of mourning on Friday, and schoolswill observe a minute's silence in memory of the victims.

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