A ship carrying 500 African migrants sank off the coast of Sicily on Thursday killing at least 94 people. Two hundred people are still unaccounted for in what is considered one of the deadliest shipwrecks of recent times.
While 159 people have been rescued, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said in a statement that the death toll is expected to rise as the search continues.
The old wooden boat sank just off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, after a fire started on board. In the early morning Thursday the ship entered closer to shore, when passengers ignited a towel to signal their arrival, New York Times reported. Aurthorities say shortly thereafter the boat was in flames. It later capsized, leaving passengers in the sea near Conigli Island.