Italian coastguard rescue hundreds of migrants off Lampedusa island

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ROME, November 25 (Reuters) – The Italian coastguard rescued around 300 migrants from an overloaded boat that struggled in rough seas in the Mediterranean as they tried to reach Europe.

Some of the people were floating in the water as rescue units reached the boat about 14 miles off the coast of the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy.

The operation overnight Wednesday and Thursday involved three ships and a plane, the coast guard said in a statement.

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Members of the Italian Coast Guard throw a rope at a distressed boat carrying migrants, during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, in this still from a video, November 25, 2021. Italian Coast Guard / Document via REUTERS

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A total of 296 people, including 14 women and 8 minors, were rescued.

Italy has seen a sharp increase in the number of migrants by boat in recent weeks and the latest arrivals will put further pressure on Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government to secure an agreement with European Union partners on how to handle the influx.

Another 203 migrants traveling on three separate boats have disembarked in the past two days in the southern region of Calabria, adding further pressure on Italy’s rescue capacity.

Some 61,935 migrants have landed in Italy so far in 2021, according to Interior Ministry data, up from 32,542 in the same period last year.

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Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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