The bodies of five children, aged between aged between one and three-years-old, were among 12 recovered following the latest tragedy off the Libyan coast in which hundreds of people are feared dead.
The bodies include six men, one woman and five children believed to be from Africa, the Middle East and East Asia, said an official from the municipality of Zuwara, whose coastguard is handling the rescue.
A group of about 430 migrants capsized some ten miles off Libya at around 8pm on Wednesday. According to one survivor, who spoke to officials from the municipality, they spent 16 hours at sea before being rescued.
The details are still sketchy but throughout the day on Friday many bodies were recovered on the beaches of Zuwara by the Libya Red Crescent.
Survivors were taken to the Zuwara hospital but even the number of this group could not be confirmed.
“It’s a total chaos, we hardly have the resources to deal with a small rescue, let alone this,” the official said.
The Western coastal town is at the epicentre of the migrant crisis on the Libyan side with many of the thousands of people who flee to Europe from Libya going through its 120km coastline.
The incident comes after another boat with 40 people overturned some five miles off the coast.
Only 25 people were pulled out alive along with three bodies. However, survivors, primarily from Nigeria and Ghana, insisted with the coastguard they were traveling in a group of 40 when their boat overturned in bad weather. They had only travelled some four hours after they left the shoreline.
The coastguard started the rescue at 4am and continued with the search until sundown into the afternoon but no more bodies were spotted.
Separately, on the same 52 bodies were recovered by European rescuers from the hold of a vessel that was carrying 493 people.