Close to 1,000 migrants rescued from leaky vessels in Mediterranean

Italian coast guard reports recovery of one dead body from rubber vessel

Migrants rest after the rescue of 104 sub-Saharan migrants aboard an overcrowded raft by the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, in the Mediterranean, 24 miles north of the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha, January 27th, 2017. Photograph: Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters

Some 1,000 migrants were saved from leaky boats in the central Mediterranean on Friday and one person was found dead, Italy’s coast guard said.

An Italian coast guard ship, the Spanish humanitarian group Proactiva Open Arms and a Caribbean-registered supply vessel went to the aid of six rubber dinghies and three wooden vessels.

“A dead body was recovered from one of the rubber boats,” the coast guard said in a statement. They gave no details about the migrants’ nationalities.

Sub-Saharan migrants reach for a lifevest aboard an overcrowded raft during a rescue operation by the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms in the Mediterranean Sea. Photograph: Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters

The sea crossing from Libya to Italy, operated by people smugglers based in the unstable North African state, is now the main route for migrants seeking better lives in Europe.


A record 181,000 mainly African boat migrants reached Italy last year, pushing the total number of arrivals in the past three years over half a million.