TRIPOLI, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Libyan Navy on Tuesday announced that more than 100 illegal immigrants were lost at sea off the western coast on their way to Europe.
According to a statement released by the Navy, 17 immigrants, including women, were rescued off the coast of Khoms city on a rubber boat with a completely crashed base.
"The rescued immigrants survived by clinging to the balloon of the boat until the rescue boat arrived from Sabratha city," said the Navy.
A total of 279 immigrants, including 17 children and 19 women, were rescued on Tuesday. All the immigrants were taken to a naval base in Tripoli after a 12-hour rescue operation.
After receiving humanitarian and medical assistance, the immigrants were handed over to Libya's Anti-illegal Immigration Department.
Libyan Navy rescued more than 400 illegal immigrants during the past three days off the coast of Garrabulli, some 60 km east of the capital Tripoli.
Due to the insecurity and chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime, Libya has become a preferred point of departure for immigrants, mostly Africans, who hope to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.