According to Reuters, a boat carrying around 250 migrants has capsized just off the coast of Italy, spilling hundreds of people into the sea, and claiming the lives of others.
According to a navy spokesperson, two navy ships were dispatched to coordinate rescue efforts. The navy vessels, supported by helicopters, were deployed to extricate survivors from the waters. They were subsequently transported to Lampedusa, the largest island amongst the Italian Pelagie Islands.
Maltese authorities were tasked with organizing the rescue operation, as the incident took place in waters that were designated a Maltese rescue zone.
A Maltese military plane initially sighted the vessel, which appeared to be in distress, some 60 miles from Lampedusa. It is alleged that most of the migrants hail from sub-Saharan Africa, alongside civilians from a number of war torn countries across the globe, including Syria and Egypt.
The BBC reports that approximately 120 people have been saved. However, a number of bodies have been spotted floating within the water.
The event comes in the wake of the deaths of at least 319 persons, after another vessel, carrying Somali and Eritrean migrants, also sank off the coast of Lampedusa.
Following this latest incident, the death toll is yet to be officially confirmed, although preliminary reports estimate the figure to be around 50.
By: James Fenner