#AceNewsReport – Featured Update:April.20: Hundreds of migrants are feared dead after a boat carrying up to 700 people capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, the "Times of Malta" and the BBC report.
The Italian Coastguard told the BBC that the vessel was carrying between 500 and 700 people when the incident happened at about midnight local time. Only 28 people have been rescued so far, the broadcaster reported.
The incident happened off Libyan waters, 120 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to the "Times of Malta."
Reuters reported that as many as 700 migrants were feared dead on Sunday after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean, raising pressure on Europe to face down anti-immigrant bias and find money for support as turmoil in Libya and the Middle East worsens the crisis.
If the death toll is confirmed, it will bring to 1,500 the total number of people who died this year seeking to reach Europe – a swelling exodus that prompted Europe to downsize its seek and rescue border protection program in a bid to deter them. International aid groups strongly criticized the decision.
After news of Sunday’s disaster several government leaders called for emergency talks and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said foreign ministers would discuss the immigration crisis at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday. European Council President Donald Tusk said he was considering calling a special meeting of EU leaders, a summit that Renzi had called for earlier.
Meanwhile Italian and foreign ships and helicopters worked into the night to find possible survivors. So far 28 people have been rescued and 24 bodies recovered, Italian authorities said.