40 dead in hold of migrant boat off Libya: Swedish coastguard

ROME - The bodies of around 40 people were found on Wednesday in the hold of a migrant boat off the coast of Libya, the Swedish coastguard said.

The macabre discovery was made after Swedish ship the Poseidon was sent to the aid of a stricken vessel by the Italian coastguard.

Swedish coastguard spokesman Mattias Lindholm told AFP the Poseidon had been able to save 439 people on the wooden boat.

"Unfortunately there were around 40 people dead in the hold," he said. "The bodies are currently being transferred to the Poseidon." The Swedish ship was in the area as part of the EU border agency Frontex's search and rescue mission known as Triton.

Just before the discovery of the bodies, the Poseidon had picked up 130 migrants from a rubber dinghy in the same area.