Italy rescues over 300 boat migrants

Italy rescues over 300 boat migrants
Boat migrants arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
More than 300 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean and taken to Italy but two perished during the perilous journey, Italian officials said Thursday.

A naval patrol boat late Wednesday picked up 103 Somali migrants, including 29 women, off Sicily after a fishing boat had taken them on board when their vessel began to sink.

The Somalis, exhausted and dehydrated, were taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa where they told rescue services a seven-year-old child and another passenger had died in scorching heat during the long crossing.

A further 200 migrants, including two new-born babies, packed into a large boat were rescued off Syracuse in Sicily.

Mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, they had paid large sums to people traffickers.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa have braved the seas in dangerously ill-equipped vessels operated by traffickers to get to Italy and other parts of the European Union in recent years, many paying with their lives.

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