The bodies of about 20 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were recovered Tuesday from waters off Tunisia, a legal official said, as a search was launched for 30 others.
Mourad Turki, spokesman for a court in the Mediterranean city of Sfax, told AFP that fishermen spotted the bodies in waters nearby and alerted the authorities.
The coast guard recovered the bodies and a search was launched with divers.
Other migrants had told authorities the victims were probably passengers on a boat that set off for Italy last Thursday night with 53 people on board.
Illegal crossings from Tunisia to Europe jumped by more than 150 percent in January to April compared to the same period last year, according to the UN’s refugee agency.