Sfax court judge Fauji Masmousdi said the coastguard rescued 17 other people from the same boat off the southern city of Sfax, two of them in serious condition.
In recent weeks, dozens of people have disappeared and died in repeated drownings off the Tunisian coast, reports RTE.
Tunisia has replaced Libya as the main departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe.
The National Guard said yesterday that more than 14,000 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were stopped or rescued in the first three months of the year as they attempted to cross into Europe, the highest number recorded in the same time last year, reports RTE.
The coast of Tunisia is about 150 km from the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said yesterday that Europe risks seeing a huge wave of migrants from North Africa arriving on its shores if financial stability in Tunisia is not safeguarded.
Mr Meloni called on the International Monetary Fund and other countries to act quickly to save Tunisia from collapse, reports RTE.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar said last week that the country needed money and equipment to better secure its borders.
Tunisia had received equipment from Italy in previous years, but Mr Ammar said it was outdated and not sufficient, reports RTE.
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