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17 bodies found as 1,128 migrants rescued from Mediterranean

Published 21/07/2016

A wooden boat used by refugees to leave Libya drifts abandoned after a rescue operation to save migrants on the Mediterranean Sea (AP)
A wooden boat used by refugees to leave Libya drifts abandoned after a rescue operation to save migrants on the Mediterranean Sea (AP)

Rescue boats have recovered the bodies of 17 migrants and plucked 1,128 survivors from the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, a day after 22 corpses were found at the bottom of a smugglers' boat.

The Italian coast guard, which co-ordinated Thursday's rescues, said the operation took on survivors from five rubber motorised dinghies, a larger boat and two small boats.

Those rescues took place as a separate vessel was bringing the bodies of those discovered a day earlier towards Sicily.

Humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders, meanwhile, said the bodies of 21 women and one man were found in a pool of fuel at the bottom of another smugglers' boat. That same rescue effort saved 209 people who were aboard two rubber dinghies.

By Thursday evening, the coast guard reported that nearly 1,700 migrants had been rescued in a two-day period.

Vessels from non-government organisations, national military fleets and passing cargo ships have been rescuing migrants daily from unseaworthy smuggling boats launched from Libya's lawless shores.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have been rescued in the past few years.

AP

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