TUNIS, Tunisia (TheBlaze/AP) — At least 41 drowned bodies, mostly Syrians trying to sail to Europe, were recovered by the Tunisian coast guard after washing up on the country’s shores, authorities said.

Identity papers recovered from the bodies Saturday indicate that most were Syrian and the dead include women and children, according to Mustapha Abdel Kebir, mayor of Ben Guerdane, a border town with Libya.

A picture taken on August 29, 2014 shows what remains of a boat carrying illegal migrants from Libya that sank off the shores of the coastal town of Ben Guerdane, in southeast Tunisia. (Image source: AFP/ F Nasri/Getty Images)

The boat most likely sailed from Libya and the currents washed up the bodies on Tunisian shores, Abdel Kebir said, adding that fishermen reported seeing many more bodies in the sea over the past days.

With the breakdown in security in neighboring Libya, it has become a major jumping off point for boats carrying Syrian and sub-Saharan African refugees seeking a better life in Europe.