Italian coast guard saves 125 migrants
More than 100 migrants were left trapped at the base of a cliff after the boats they were traveling in capsized off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island.
The group of 125 asylum seekers, who are thought to have crossed the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya, were rescued in a complex operation conducted by the Italian coast guard.
The coast guard said the rescue, which took place around dawn on Thursday, was made difficult because of rough seas.
The migrants scrambled ashore from two boats at the Isola dei Conigli, or Island of Rabbits, a tiny islet connected to Lampedusa by a pristine white sand beach which is routinely voted one of the most stunning in the whole of Europe.
The coast guard sent two patrol boats to rescue the migrants, who included 49 women and 20 children who were in “an evident state of shock.”
The migrants were taken to the main port of Lampedusa. The island’s geographical location, closer to Tunisia than mainland Italy, means that it has attracted tens of thousand of migrants and refugees in recent years.