Six dead after rubber boat carrying 116 migrants splits in two

Six people have died after a rubber boat carrying 116 migrants and asylum-seekers fell apart in the central Mediterranean Sea.

The Open Arms rescue ship had been searching for the boat in distress for hours before finally locating it on Wednesday morning in international waters north of Libya.

The Spanish humanitarian group had just finished distributing life vests and masks to the passengers to begin transferring them to safety when the flimsy boat split in two, throwing them into cold waters.

Rescuers pulled out 111 people, including two infants, alive and recovered five bodies.

But one of the two infants, a six-month-old girl, died after being brought on board the rescue ship.

Open Arms spokesperson Laura Lanuza said they had asked Italian and Maltese maritime authorities for the immediate evacuation of six people in serious condition, including two babies and their mothers and a pregnant woman.

Ms Lanuza said they had already rescued 88 migrants the night before and was headed to a third distress call.

This latest shipwreck was the second recorded this week in waters north of Libya, a key transit point for migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

On Tuesday another 13 migrants died, including a child, the UN said.

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