May 20, 2017 / 3:50 PM / 4 months ago

Rescuers pull 2,121 migrants to safety in Mediterranean

MILAN (Reuters) - Rescuers pulled 2,121 migrants to safety from boats in the Mediterranean late on Friday and early on Saturday and recovered one dead body, the Italian coastguard said.

More than 45,000 people have reached Italy by boat from North Africa this year, up more than 40 percent from the same period in 2016, and 1,222 people are known to have died on the perilous crossing, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

The rescue operations involved two ships operated by the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Sea Eye and Jugend Rettet and a Spanish vessel participating in the EU’s EUNAVFOR mission in the Mediterranean, the coastguard said.

The coastguard did not give any details about the migrants. Most sea-borne migrants arriving in Italy are from Sub-Saharan Africa or Bangladesh and pay Libya-based smugglers to organise their passage.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Helen Popper

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