TODAY   |  October 03, 2013

Boat carrying African migrants sinks off coast of Italy

Dozens of people are dead and many are still missing after a horrific shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea. Italian Coast Guard officials believe a fire broke out on board just off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa and rescue efforts are underway. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> under way after a boat carrying mieg granute ag migrants.

>> good morning. there is a desperate attempt off the island in italy's southern-most point. italian officials say it sank as it approached the coast. there are reports that a fire broke out on board, among the first responders to the scene were pleasure boats that heard the screams of people aboard the boat that was on fire. in fact, there are reports this morning that people threw themselves into the water to try to get away from the flames. now, italian coastguard officials tell nbc news this boat was 65-feet long and carried as many as 500 people t. death toll as you said 94 at this hour. 161 rescued but as many as 300 people are still missing. now, pope frances has made the plight of immigrants a legacy. in july, his first trip was there. he celebrated mass to commemorate the lives of the lost by people who are trying to find a better life . in a message poftd sted on twitter this morning, pope frances says the world should pray for those who died in a tragic ship wreck. at a speech at the sat can he says the would should by a shamed by what happened