Search for 'Missing 500' set to begin as Libyan migrant deaths mount

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Search for 'Missing 500' set to begin as Libyan migrant deaths mount

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Italian and Maltese authorities will spend Tuesday scouring the water for around 500 migrants feared dead off the Maltese coast.

Two survivors were found last week and reportedly gave testimony to a horrific ordeal. Simona Moscarelli from the International Organisation for Migration in Europe, spoke to those saved:

At one point the traffickers told them to jump into another ship but the migrants refused because they thought it was too unsafe and too small. A fight started and the traffickers deliberately decided to jump over, with their boat, over the boat of the migrants, making it sink”.

In the past two days five ships laden with migrants are thought to have sunk whilst trying to reach European shores
From one crammed with 250 people, Libyan officials say only 36 people have been saved from the water.

Violence in an often troubled Libya has both increased the numbers crossing and decreased local rescue capabilities.

Most aim for Italy, so far in 2014 more than 100,000 migrants have arrived in the country.