Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, a ship capsized with over 500 lives feared lost in what could be one of the worst migrant and refugee tragedies in the past 12 months.
According to a press release from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 41 survivors were rescued by a merchant ship and transported to Kalamata City in Greece. Details regarding the capsize were taken from interviews with the survivors.
23 Somalis, 11 Ethiopians, 6 Egyptians and a Sudenese were rescued, including a three-year old child. They were fleeing Libya, which is currently under political chaos.
"The survivors told us that they had been part of a group of between 100 and 200 people who departed last week from a locality near Tobruk in Libya on a 30-metre-long boat," the Refugee Agency said.
Referring to the testimonies of the survivors, UNHCR said that the smugglers wanted to transfer the passengers to a larger, albeit already overcrowded ship.
"At one point during the transfer, the larger boat capsized and sank," the agency recounted.
When the ship capsized, not all of the passengers have boarded it yet while some of those who did have managed to swim back to the smaller boat.
They've possibly spent three days drifting at the sea before they were found on April 16.
The agency is calling for more measures that would prevent refugees and migrants from consulting smugglers just to get to a safer place to live in.
"UNHCR continues to call for increased regular pathways for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to Europe, including resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, family reunification, private sponsorship and student and work visas for refugees. These will all serve to reduce the demand for people smuggling and dangerous irregular sea journeys."
Data released by UNHCR reported that 3,771 refugees and migrants are either dead or missing in 2015.
As of early 2016, over 1,261 refugees and migrants are feared to have died in the sea. The numbers, however, might increase since the data was gathered before the April capsize.