Dozens die in Italy boat sinking
At least 82 people have died after a boat carrying African migrants sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, the island's mayor says.
More than 140 have been rescued but hundreds are missing, officials say.
Passengers reportedly threw themselves into the sea as the vessel got into trouble and Italian officials were quoted as saying that dozens of people were still in the water.
Earlier this week, 13 migrants drowned while trying to reach Sicily.
There are reports that a fire broke out on board, before the boat sank. There are believed to have been around 500 people on board.
Local media reports say that at least one child and a pregnant woman are among the dead.
"The immense tragedy at Lampedusa... is unbearable for any human being," Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said, according to Reuters.
The mayor of Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini, described the scene as a "continuous horror".
At this time of year, when the Mediterranean tends to be calmer, vessels carrying migrants from Africa and the Middle East land on Italy's southern shores almost every day, the BBC's Alan Johnston reports from Rome.
But often the vessels are overcrowded and are not seaworthy. Over the years many have died when their boats have sunk, our correspondent adds.
The UN said almost 500 people were reported dead or missing at sea during 2012 in attempts to reach Europe.