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Search on for 8 missing Algerian migrants near Sardinia

ROME (AP) — Italy’s coast guard is searching for eight Algerian migrants who apparently tried to swim to shore when the motor of their boat failed off Sardinia’s southwest coast.

The coast guard said in a statement Saturday that three people who decided to stay aboard the stranded boat and were rescued told authorities that 10 people in all had abandoned ship Thursday near Isola del Toro, an uninhabited rock off the Sardinian island of Sant’Antioco.

The coast guard has already recovered two bodies. While Sicily is a close European destination for migrants departing from Libya, people leaving from Algeria typically head for Sardinia. The arrival of five boats carrying 63 people was reported in the last week.

A regional official, Filippo Spanu, alleged that criminal networks similar to ones in Libya run smuggling operations taking migrants from Algeria.

He said in a Facebook post the deaths nevertheless compelled Sardinians to “abandon our unfounded fears and give the poor victims the same sentiments that we reserve for those closest to us.”

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This version corrects the spelling in the text and summary of the Sardinian island to Sant’Antioco, not Sant’Antiochio.

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