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Dozens of bodies of dead immigrants thrown into sea off Lampedusa: survivors

(Xinhua)

14:07, August 05, 2011

Survivors on a boat carrying illegal immigrants from Libya to Italy said Thursday that dozens of dead bodies were thrown into the sea.

The vessel, carrying a total of some 300 refugees according to the survivers, suffered an engine breakdown several hours after leaving from Libya, ANSA news agency reported.

The boat was first intercepted by a Cypriot ship, which send an alarm to the Italian coastal police when some of the migrants on board jumped into the water in a desperate attempt to reach the ship.

Four patrol boats were sent from Lampedusa, the southern most Italian island, to help transfer the immigrants to the tiny island after the coastal police received the alarm.

A few immigrants in critical conditions were immediately taken to the health center on Lampedusa or hospitals in Palermo, capital city of the Sicily region.

Lampedusa has recently been rocked by a new immigration wave. On Monday, 25 Libyan fleeing the civil war were found dead on a 15-meter-long boat carrying over 270 refugees.

They were said to have died of suffocation in the engine room of the overcrowded boat.

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