Europe

NGO fears death of at least 240 migrants in Mediterranean

  • In this photo released by Proactiva Open Arms NGO on Friday, March 24, 2017, the body of a migrant on board the Golfo Azzurro, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue ship on the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, during a search and rescue operation by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms. A Spanish aid organization says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats and the search for a third vessel reported missing had so far proved futile. (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)

    In this photo released by Proactiva Open Arms NGO on Friday, March 24, 2017, the body of a migrant on board the Golfo Azzurro, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue ship on the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, during a search and rescue operation by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms. A Spanish aid organization says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats and the search for a third vessel reported missing had so far proved futile. (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by Proactiva Open Arms NGO on Friday, March 24, 2017, the bodies of two migrants on board the Golfo Azzurro, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue ship on the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, during a search and rescue operation by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms. A Spanish aid organization says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats and the search for a third vessel reported missing had so far proved futile. (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)

    In this photo released by Proactiva Open Arms NGO on Friday, March 24, 2017, the bodies of two migrants on board the Golfo Azzurro, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue ship on the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, during a search and rescue operation by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms. A Spanish aid organization says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats and the search for a third vessel reported missing had so far proved futile. (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by Proactiva Open Arms NGO on Friday, March 24, 2017, the body of a migrant is carried inside the Golfo Azzurro, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue ship by aid workers, in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, during a search and rescue operation by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms. A Spanish aid organization says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats and the search for a third vessel reported missing had so far proved futile. (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)

    In this photo released by Proactiva Open Arms NGO on Friday, March 24, 2017, the body of a migrant is carried inside the Golfo Azzurro, the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue ship by aid workers, in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, during a search and rescue operation by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms. A Spanish aid organization says it fears hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya after five bodies were found near two capsized boats and the search for a third vessel reported missing had so far proved futile. (Proactiva Open Arms via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A Spanish aid organization says it has recovered five bodies from waters off the Libyan coast and fears that at least 240 migrants could have died after two boats capsized in the Mediterranean.

Proactiva Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza said each rubber boat usually holds 120 people, but smugglers tend to fill them over capacity to maximize their benefits in each trip.

She said the NGO confirmed the sinking of two boats but was only able to find the bodies of five men of African origin on Thursday morning, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) north of the Libyan town of Sabratha.

The migrants were between 16 and 25 years old and appeared to have drowned, said Lanuza, as their bodies didn't show any sign of violence. The NGO's rescuers were searching for a third boat.