Thousands of migrants rescued off Italy

Saturday 07 June 2014 13.08
Good weather conditions in the Mediterranean have further boosted the influx of migrants desperate to reach Europe
Good weather conditions in the Mediterranean have further boosted the influx of migrants desperate to reach Europe

The Italian coast guard has rescued more than 1,000 migrants from three separate boats, in the second such operation in two days, officials said.

The migrants and asylum seekers were plucked from three boats about 40 miles off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa, the coast guard said.

The rescue came a day after the Italian navy picked up another 2,500 asylum-seekers from 17 boats.

Good weather conditions in the Mediterranean have further boosted the influx of migrants desperate to reach Europe.

Most of the migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Italy come from Eritrea or Syria and are departing from Libya.

Many also come from impoverished parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Thousands have died in tragedies at sea in recent years because they often cross in rickety fishing boats that are badly overcrowded to maximise profits for traffickers.