ROME: The Italian coastguard on Monday said rescuers had recovered the bodies of 15 migrants in search and rescue operations which saved nearly 2,700 people making the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.
In one of the dramatic operations panicked migrants began throwing themselves into the water in a desperate bid to reach a vessel operated by Malta-based humanitarian group MOAS.
Some members of the crew also jumped into the sea in an effort to save the migrants, with 134 rescued, including six children, and seven dead recovered by MOAS.
In total “more than 2,700 people were rescued… Fifteen bodies were recovered in the operations,” the coast guard said in a statement.
Earlier in the day the Italian navy announced it had pulled the bodies of seven migrants from the sea, with another boat recovering an eighth corpse.
Two patrol boats also “recovered nearly 500 people during six rescue operations, including one involving an inflatable boat which was only just about floating, and from which some migrants had fallen into the sea,” the navy said in a statement. A huge wave of migrants arrived in Italy at the end of August, when some 14,000 people were rescued in the space of five days.