231 migrants, including 33 women (one pregnant) and four children this morning woke up at Lampedusa after they faced death yesterday as the 15 metre wooden fishing boat they were packed risked capsizing in the rough sea.
The migrants were spotted by a plane late Saturday morning taking part in the European Frontex mission monitoring migration flows between North Africa and Southern Europe, mainly Malta and Sicily.
The rescue operation was coordinated by the Coast Guard of Palermo and the Italian Navy using involving two helicopters, four patrol boats and a Navy ship.
The boat was reached at 14.30 and the 231 migrants were transferred to the patrol boats and taken to Lampedusa.
Migration flows have started again this year. The United Nations Commission for Refugees reports that since January over 1,200 migrants have arrived in Malta while over 2,000 have arrived in Italy.