5,000 migrants rescued in wave of Med crossings

Rome—Some 5,000 migrants were rescued from rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean on Friday the Italian coastguard said, averting another potential high seas disaster.
A coastguard spokesman said it appeared many people had left the Libyan coast to attempt the perilous voyage across the sea to Europe during a spell of good weather.
“Around 5,000 people were saved in 43 rescue operations,” the coastguard said in a statement. A body was found on board one of the rubber dinghies, a coastguard spokesman told AFP earlier.
“We registered a large number of voyages today, after several days of bad weather at sea had stopped people leaving Libya,” the spokesman added.
Most of the migrants were on the dinghies, while three wooden boats were being used by Libyan people traffickers, the coastguard said.
The Italian navy also noted a mass movement of boats in the Mediterranean from “the first light of dawn.” Five Italian navy ships took part in the rescue operations, together with two vessels from the EU’s Operation Sophia, which was set up to combat human smuggling in the Mediterranean, and another four from humanitarian organisations.—Agencies

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