Germans, Libyans blame each other for botched migrant rescue

A migrant's hand is seen as member of a German nonprofit organisation looks at other migrants trying to board a Libyan coast guard ship after being rescued at sea, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Five migrants have died as a German nonprofit organization, Sea-Watch, and the Libyan coast guard tried to rescue them from their foundering boat in the Mediterranean, with each side blaming the other for botching the operation. (Lisa Hoffmann/Sea-Watch via AP)

BERLIN - Five migrants have died as a German non-profit organization and the Libyan coast guard tried to rescue them from their foundering boat in the Mediterranean, with each side blaming the other for botching the operation.

Germany's Sea-Watch said Tuesday its rescue ship was helping migrants on the sinking inflatable boat in international waters off the Libyan coast Monday morning when a Libyan coast guard boat also began to simultaneously take migrants onboard.

Sea-Watch said the Libyan coast guard caused panic by "beating and threatening" the passengers, before driving off at high speed with people clinging to the side.

Five people, including a child, were killed and 58 rescued by Sea-Watch.

Libya blames Sea-Watch for the fatalities, saying they interrupted the coast guard's rescue work "despite our appeals."


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