At least 48 refugees were killed after their boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia on Sunday, Reuters reported. The Tunisian coast guard rescued 67 people, the defence ministry said. The rescue operation was suspended on Sunday night and will resume on Monday.

The boat sank near the tourist island of Kerkenna in the intervening night between Saturday and Sunday. The boat had about 180 people, including 100 Tunisians and people from other African countries, security officials said.

A survivor told Reuters that the captain had abandoned the sinking boat to escape arrest by the coast guard.

Several refugees flee political and humanitarian crises in African nations from Tunisian shores in an effort to find employment and better lives in Europe.

Nine persons, including six children, died on Sunday in a separate incident after a speedboat carrying 15 refugees sank off the Turkish coast.

Around 660 people who attempted to reach Europe by sea till May 30 this year died while 32,080 were successful, according to the International Organization for Migration.