Scores die in boat tragedy off Italy coast

Death toll likely to climb as rescuers try to save many more still in water after migrant boat sank killing at least 80.

At least 80 migrants have drowned and rescuers were trying to save about 250 people still missing near the Italian island of Lampedusa after a migrant boat caught fire and sank, Italian media reports said. 

The accident occurred on Thursday morning.

Rescuers recovered at least 25 bodies from the waters, a spokesman of the Italian coast guard said.

More than 160 people have been plucked from the water alive in the search involving coast guard and customs boats and helicopters, officials said.

The accident was the latest in a series of drownings involving migrants near the Italian coast. On Monday, 13 asylum-seekers drowned as they tried to swim ashore after their boat ran aground off the coast of Sicily.

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