Italy rescues over 3,300 migrants at sea: coastguard
Syrian migrants receive medical treatment upon arrival in Italy, September 2014. (AFP/Roberta Basile)
The Italian coastguard said it rescued over 3,300 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea Friday, in addition to finding 17 dead on several of the boats, AFP reported.
Distress calls were sent from 17 boats, and several rescue operations were still ongoing Friday evening.
The 17 dead migrants were discovered aboard three inflatable vessels, from which emergency teams also rescued over 300 others alive.
It is not immediately clear how the 17 passengers died.
Migrants on the Mediterranean, most of whom are escaping armed conflicts and poverty in their home countries, often face extreme weather conditions, hunger, and violence while at sea.
Since January, around 1,770 migrants have died while on the highly dangerous journey to Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.