A 16-year-old boy appeared to be the sole survivor of a migrant shipwreck off the coast of Libya in which 146 are feared dead, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday.
The teen, who is from Gambia, told rescuers there were five children and several pregnant women on the rubber dinghy, which left from the coastal town of Sabratha in western Libya and was trying to reach Italy, IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo told dpa.
"He was clinging to a fuel can," Di Giacomo said. The boy was rescued by German non-governmental organization Jugend Rettet, then turned over to the Italian coastguard, he said.
The boy was hospitalized in a confused state on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa last night. He had no idea how long he had been in the water, Di Giacomo said.
"This shipwreck proves there are many more we don't know about," he added.
There have been almost 22,000 arrivals to Italy by sea as of March 26 this year and 590 have died trying, according to the IOM, a UN-affiliated agency.