Photos: Navy saves 367 migrants after boat capsizes in sea tragedy
At least 150 migrants drowned as Irish naval personnel tried desperately to save them in the latest human catastrophe in the Mediterranean.
The LE Niamh went to the assistance of an overcrowded fishing boat with more than 600 people on board yesterday morning when tragedy struck.
Two rescue boats were launched from the Irish ship and went to either side of the vessel when it suddenly capsized and sank within two minutes.
It is believed too many people may have moved to one side of the fishing boat, causing it to overturn.
A Defence Forces spokesperson said the LE Niamh arrived at the scene shortly before noon about 100 kilometres north of the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The crew had already commenced a rescue operation when the boat capsized. All available rhib boats and life rafts were instantly deployed.
He confirmed 367 rescued people were brought aboard the LE Niamh, including 342 men, 12 women, and 13 children. Some 25 bodies have also been recovered.
Other vessels, including a vessel operated by medical charity Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF), rescued a further 32 people from the water. Between 150 and 200 people were estimated to have drowned, if not more.