About 300 migrants trying to reach Europe were rescued by Italian coast guard units from an overloaded boat in the Mediterranean Sea.
The migrants were saved in an overnight operation off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, according to statement by the Italian coast guard.
A total of 296 migrants, including eight children and 14 women, some of them floating in the sea, were rescued in the operation overnight on Wednesday and Thursday, it added.
Rescue group appeals for help
German NGO Sea-Watch International said its rescue ship, Sea Watch 4, has 463 people on board and in dire need of a port of safety.
“A storm is coming, the situation on the #SeaWatch4 is critical. Many of the 463 rescued people on board have already been at sea for more than a week. They are exposed to rain and wind on the decks,” the group said on Twitter.
“They need protection and have the right to disembark in a port of safety! Now!”
The NGO said the situation on the rescue vessel “is increasingly unbearable.”
“These people have seen their rights denied for far too long. We are not asking for a favor here, it is the right of these people to disembark! Don't delay further, it's time for a port of safety!” it added.