Four people are dead and 19 are missing as a boat carrying Tunisian migrants capsized a short distance from the coast, a judicial source told AFP on Sunday.
A total of 7 people were aboard the small boat, of which only "XNUMX were rescued," said Farid Bin Ja, a spokesman for the court in Mahdia and Monastir (central Tunisia).
Four people were arrested for taking part in organizing the cross-Mediterranean effort, a court spokesman added, who is investigating for responsibility.
According to the same source, the victims were almost all young men.
When the boat capsized yesterday morning near the coast of Sheba, in the province of Mahdia, which borders those of Sousse and Monastir, one of the passengers was able to reach the ground by swimming and alerted.
The province of Mahdia is only about 140 km from the Italian island of Lampedusa.
A search-and-rescue team retrieved four bodies and rescued seven of the passengers; the rest are "missing," the court spokesman said, adding that "the boat was too small to carry 30 people."
Besides, bad weather conditions prevailed, with rough seas and strong winds.
So far it is not clear exactly where the boat left from.