About 100 migrants are missing at sea and feared dead after their boat capsized east of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
The Libyans managed to rescue 16 migrants from the group and recovered the bodies of three children, coast guard spokesman Ayoub Gassim said.
It was unclear when the smugglers' boat had left for the dangerous trip to Europe or where they left from.
He quoted a Yemeni survivor as saying the boat carried some 125 migrants, including women and children, before it capsized.
Mr Gassim said the survivors were brought back to the town of Tajoura, east of Tripoli.
He said the Libyan coast guard had also intercepted three smuggling boats carrying around 345 migrants east of Tripoli as well.