TUNIS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The number of illegal immigrants killed after their boat sank off the southeastern coast of Tunisia has risen to 48, Tunisian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
"This morning, Tunisian coast guard units were able to recover 13 additional bodies including nine men and four women, bringing the total number of victims to 48," said a ministry statement.
The boat was packed with about 53 immigrants from different African countries.
The search is still underway for the remaining immigrants, said the ministry.
According to the initial investigation, the boat left the coast of Sfax on June 4 toward the Italian coast, and sank off the Kerkennah Islands in Sfax.
Tunisia has become an important new route for migrants trying to reach Europe in the past year, and Kerkennah is known as one of the main illegal gateways. Enditem