ROME Rescuers pulled 301 boat migrants to safety and found five dead bodies in five operations in the central Mediterranean on Wednesday, the Italian Coast Guard said.
An Irish navy ship recovered the five dead from a rubber boat along with 118 survivors. Humanitarian group Life Boat saved 130 people from another rubber boat.
Overnight, Italian Coast Guard vessels rescued 18 people from a wooden boat near the southern island of Pantelleria, a further 11 near the uninhabited island of Lampione, and 24 more off the coast of Lampedusa Island on Wednesday morning.
The central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy is the deadliest border in the world for migrants. More than 3,100 have gone missing or died this year while trying to use this route to Europe by boat, the International Organization for Migration estimates.
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Angus MacSwan)