More than 250 migrants may have died when a boat sank a kilometer (half a mile) off the Libyan coast, a coastguard official said on Sunday.
"We believe there are still more than 250 bodies trapped underwater," coastguard official Mohammad Abdellatif told Reuters. "When we went underwater we discovered that the boat is a lot bigger than we thought."
The boat sank late on Friday east of the capital Tripoli. Thousands of migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, have crowded into rickety vessels in recent months in an effort to reach Italian shores. Many boats have been wrecked.
The total number reaching Italian shores has passed 100,000 in 2014, the Italian government said this week.
Libya is a major departure point for this journey, and human traffickers are exploiting the political chaos and lawlessness that has blighted the country since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising in 2011.