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ROME (AP) — A crowded fishing boat that one survivor said carried 700 migrants capsized north of Libya overnight, and only a few dozen people were rescued Sunday, raising fears that it could become the Mediterranean's deadliest known migrant sea disaster.
Up to 700 people were feared drowned Sunday after an overcrowded boat smuggling them to Europe capsized off Libya in the latest and deadliest in a long list of migrant disasters in the Mediterranean. Italy's coastguard, which was coordinating the search for survivors and bodies, said only 28 people had survived a wreck that triggered fresh calls from Pope Francis and others for European leaders to act over what many see as an avoidable loss of life. Survivors' testimonies suggested there had been about 700 people on board the 20-metre (70-foot) fishing boat when it keeled over in darkness overnight, officials said. The European Union announced an emergency meeting of foreign and interior ministers to discuss what Amnesty International blasted as a predictable "man-made tragedy".