Rescued illegal migrants sit on the ground at a naval base in Tripoli, Libya. Picture: Hamza Turkia/Xinhua

Tripoli - Libyan authorities said on Monday that eight people were found dead inside a refrigerated vehicle transporting migrants in the western coastal city of Zuwara.

The six children, one woman and a man found dead were part of a group of 100 migrants that suffered from the lack of oxygen inside the vehicle, which is usually used to ship meat and fish, the Libyan Navy said on its Facebook page.

More than 90 people were taken to Zuwara hospital, some of them in serious condition, the office said.

Over the past weeks, hundreds of migrants attempting to travel to Europe were rescued or died close to the Libyan coast.

Libya has become a major transit route for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

Libya descended into chaos in 2011 after dictator Moamer Gaddafi was toppled in an armed revolt.

Rival armed militias and political bodies have since vied for dominance and control of the country's oil reserves under competing governments - two in Tripoli and one in the eastern city of al-Bayda.