Italy rescues 1,300 migrants
Three fishing boats overloaded with migrants were brought to shore
Italian authorities brought to shore more than 1,300 migrants packed in three boats as three more bodies from the shipwreck nearly two weeks ago were found on Saturday.
The rescue started Friday with coast guards securing one overloaded fishing boat south of the Calabrian city of Crotone and two other similar vessels further south off Roccella Ionica.
Coast guard videos showed a large fishing boat pitching violently back and forth in nightime rough seas with dozens of people visible on the deck, Agence France-Presse reported.
Other images showed inflatable rescue boats approaching another fishing vessel packed with people.
The first boat with 487 migrants onboard were safely brought to the port of Crotone at about 0200 GMT Saturday morning, the coast guard said, according to AFP.
Another 500 migrants were transferred to a coastguard ship and brought to the port of Reggio Calabria.
Two coast guard patrol vessels rescued a third boat carrying 379 people, transferring the migrants to a Navy ship headed to the Sicilian port of Augusta, it said.
Italy’s defense ministry said it had begun to air transfers of migrants away from the crowded migrant center on the island of Lampedusa, which it said was now over capacity.
Meanwhile, the bodies recovered were those of two girls, both under the age of 10, and that of an adult male, said Italian news reports.
The bodies brought to 76 the death toll from the 26 February shipwreck off the shore of Calabria.
Italy’s interior ministry says more than 17,500 people have arrived by sea so far this year — almost three times the number for the same period last year.
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