Update 3: The Death Toll of Refugees Around Lampedusa Rises to 94, 150 Rescued, More than 200 Still Missing

(CNN) -- At least 94 people, including a pregnant woman and two children, died when a boat capsized and caught fire off the island of Lampedusa, the Italian coast guard told CNN on Thursday. The coast guard

(CNN) — At least 94 people, including a pregnant woman and two children, died when a boat capsized and caught fire off the island of Lampedusa, the Italian coast guard told CNN on Thursday.

The coast guard has been able to save at least 151 people, and the rescue operation is ongoing.

Lampedusa’s boat people: One man’s story

The boat is thought to have been carrying up to 500 people. Those aboard include Somalis, Eritreans and Ghanaians, the coast guard said, and the boat is thought to have launched from Libya’s coast.

Lampedusa, the closest Italian island to Africa, has become a destination for tens of thousands of refugees seeking to enter European Union countries.

The head of the U.N. refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, praised the efforts of the Italian coast guard but said he was “dismayed at the rising global phenomenon of migrants and people fleeing conflict or persecution and perishing at sea.”

Another 13 men drowned off Italy’s southern coast Monday when they attempted to swim ashore, the U.N agency said in a statement.

It is working with countries in the region to find “effective alternatives” so people don’t risk their lives trying to make perilous journeys by sea, it said.

Pope’s prayers

Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, was in the news this summer when the pope went there to pray for refugees and migrants lost at sea.

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12 COMMENTS
  • Morroso October 3, 2013

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  • Cali October 3, 2013

    ROME (AFP) – Italian police on Tuesday arrested five Syrians and two Egyptians suspected of throwing overboard 13 asylum-seekers who drowned while attempting to swim ashore off Italy’s coast, media reports said.

    The suspected people smugglers, aged between 25 and 33, risk being charged with manslaughter and facilitating illegal immigration after reports they forced the victims to jump overboard by whipping them with their belts.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/10/01/syrians-egyptians-arrested-over-migrant-drownings/

    Rome (AFP)

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