The bodies of five migrants were recovered and more than 1,100 others were rescued from overcrowded boats off the coast of Libya on Sunday, Italy’s coastguard said.
One victim was found on board a wooden fishing boat, a coastguard spokesman said. The other bodies were pulled from the sea after 10 migrants either jumped or fell into the water as rescuers approached, the spokesman said.
Six of them survived, the Italian navy said, adding that life-saving first aid was performed on three of the people who had been pulled from the sea.
Vessels from Italy’s navy and coastguard aided in the rescues, as did two ships run by humanitarian groups.
Around 90,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat this year, down slightly from the same period as last year. About 3,000 men, women and children have died so far trying to make the journey, the International Organization for Migrants estimates.
Italy has been on the front line of Europe’s migrant crisis for three years, and more than 400,000 have successfully made the voyage to Italy from North Africa since the beginning of 2014, fleeing violence and poverty.
People smugglers operating mostly out of Libya charge each migrant hundreds of dollars to make the crossing on unstable boats.