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More than 90 refugees dead after boat sinks off coast of Libya

The European Union's border agency says the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy more than doubled last month. Picture by Patrick Bar/SOS Mediterranee via AP

MORE than 90 refugees are believed to be dead after their rickety boat was damaged shortly after leaving the Libyan coast, officials say.

Navy spokesman Ayoub Gassim said the coast guard has rescued 29 survivors, who said the plastic boat ripped and began filling with water about 26 miles off the Libyan coast - in international waters.

He said that a total of 126 people were in the boat, mostly African nationals.

They left Tajoura, in western Libya, before dawn on Wednesday morning, and the coast guard received a call for help around 3pm local time.

The death toll for refugees in the Mediterranean has reached at least 3,800 this year so far, making 2016 the deadliest year ever for refugees in the Mediterranean.

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