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245 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean

United Nations officials said on Tuesday that 245 migrants were feared dead in two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. The death toll represents a major increase to an already grim tally this year.

More than 1,300 people are now estimated to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017, most while attempting to reach Italy from Libya or Tunisia, according to the International Organization for Migration. Last year, 5,098 people died that way.

The two recent shipwrecks occurred on Friday and Sunday, though details about the extent of the loss of life were not released until Tuesday.

On Friday night, a rubber dinghy sank after several hours at sea, with 132 people on board. Of those, 50 people were rescued and taken on Sunday to Pozzallo, Sicily; an additional 82 were believed to have died.

On Sunday, another shipwreck was reported, this one off the coast of Libya. The International Medical Corps, which works with the United Nations refugee agency, reported that one woman and six men had been rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, but that 163 people were feared dead.

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