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Search Continues For Survivors Of Capsized Boat Off Libya, But Hopes Fade

An Italian navy boat from the ship Francesco Mimbelli approaches a rubber dinghy carrying migrants during a rescue operation off the coast of Libya.

As many as 200 people are still unaccounted for from a fishing boat that capsized off Libya's coast Wednesday with hundreds of migrants aboard. Military and rescue teams are searching for survivors from the boat, which was initially estimated to have 600 people aboard.

Search teams have recovered 25 bodies, Italian officials say. There are conflicting reports about the number of people who were rescued — U.N. officials have put the number around 400, while The Associated Press says 367 survivors have been found.

"More than a dozen children have been rescued and ferried ashore by Irish sailors," Lauren Frayer reports for our Newscast unit. "Doctors with Borders also rescued a pregnant Syrian woman and a 1-year-old baby — they're being brought ashore in Italy."

The AP reports, "With seas warm and calm, rescuers have expressed hopes others might be alive on Thursday, a day after a 20-meter (66-foot) long fishing boat capsized as rescuers approached."

But an emergency worker in Malta who helped in the rescue effort tells the BBC, "I think it's unlikely that any additional survivors will be picked up."

After the accident, the U.N. Refugee Agency's chief spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, said that those who had crowded onto the boat included "100 in the hull." She also said the boat capsized very quickly, as we reported Wednesday.

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