At least 126 migrants feared dead at Mediterranean Sea - UN agency

UN agency: survivors says some 126 migrants died in wreck

UN agency: survivors says some 126 migrants died in wreck

The sea crossing between Libya and Italy has been attempted by an increasing number of migrants trying to reach Europe this year.

A total of 65,450 boat migrants reached Italy this year as of June 14 - 85 percent of arrivals across the Mediterranean, said the United Nations migration agency, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Since the beginning of the year, more than 77,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean, with almost 66,000 of them arriving in Italy.

Two Sudanese men who arrived with around 1,000 other migrants at the Sicilian port of Palermo on Monday told IOM staff they left Libya in a rubber boat packed with 130 people, mainly Sudanese, IOM spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo said. The survivors said some 130 people, majority Sudanese, had been aboard.

The four survivors were then picked up by a Libyan fishing boat and handed over to another migrant boat, which was later intercepted by the Italian navy and brought to Sicily. That boat was later rescued and its passengers transferred to a coast guard vessel.

This comes after the Italian Coast Guard said Sunday that it rescued 730 migrants in the central Mediterranean in seven different operations, with the help of Save the Children NGO and Jugend Rettet.

Over the past few years, hundreds of thousands of migrants, fleeing conflict, poverty or persecution, have been rescued at sea from unseaworthy smugglers' vessels that set off from Libya, and brought to Italian shores.