ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s Coast Guard and humanitarian ships rescued 1,350 migrants in 12 separate operations in the Mediterranean on Thursday and one person was found dead.
The migrants were all found in an area some 25 km (16 miles) north of the Libyan coast, They travelling on a larger boat, five dinghies and 6 smaller vessels, a Coast Guard spokesperson told Reuters.
The body of a dead person was found on one of the dinghies, a statement said.
Search and rescue operations were carried out by the Coast Guard and two boats operated by NGOs Sea Watch and Proactiva Open Arms, it added.
The Coast Guard spokesman said operations were still being carried out and there were still no details regarding where the migrants would be sent.
Italy has become the main arrival point in Europe for people fleeing persecution and poverty in Africa, most of them crossing the Mediterranean from Libya. Overall, 181,000 migrants reached Italy in 2016, about half of the total who arrived in the European Union by sea.
Reporting by Giulia Segreti Editing by Jeremy Gaunt