Nearly 5,800 migrants have been rescued from boats off the coast of Libya over the past 48 hours, Italy’s coastguard has said.
The development comes as part of the Italian coastguard’s biggest rescue operation this year.
Seven bodies were found on two large rubber boats packed with migrants and rescuers picked from the sea the corpses of three others who had jumped into the water when they saw a merchant ship approaching, the coastguard said.
Two weeks after nearly 900 boat people drowned in the worst Mediterranean shipwreck in living memory, the flow of people desperate to reach a better life in Europe has accelerated as people smugglers take advantage of calmer seas.
Separately, authorities in Egypt said that three people died when a migrant boat attempting to reach Greece sank off its coast. They said 31 people were rescued.
Italy’s coastguard has coordinated the rescue efforts by its own navy and coast guard, a French ship acting on behalf of the European border control agency, merchant ships and one vessel run by the privately funded Migrant Offshore Aid Station.