At least 14 migrants, including four children, died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa into southern Europe.
The Tunisian National Guard says the 14 were among a group of migrants using two boats to cross to the Italian island of Lampedusa. The boats left shore on Monday night or early Tuesday and carried migrants mainly from sub-Saharan Africa who were attempting to reach Europe illegally, spokesman Houcem Eddine Jebabli said.
Both boats eventually sank off the coast of Sfax in eastern Tunisia.
The 14 who died drowned before authorities could arrive at the scene.
The Tunisian Coast Guard managed to rescue 139 people. Teams continue to search for survivors.
The past year has been marked by an increase in such shipwrecks in the central Mediterranean, the deadliest migratory route in the world for candidates for exile to Europe.