June 9, 2017 / 4:21 PM / 2 years ago

Hundreds of migrants saved in Mediterranean, one dies, aid group says

FILE PHOTO: Migrants wait to disembark from "Vos Prudence" Offshore Tug Supply ship as they arrive at the harbour in Naples, Italy, May 28, 2017. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

ROME (Reuters) - Aid groups rescued 716 migrants from rickety boats in the Mediterranean on Friday, but one person died in the attempt to reach Europe, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.

More than 61,000 people have arrived in Italy this year after paying smugglers for the risky passage from North Africa, which has claimed the lives of 1,622, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Sea missions run by MSF, Spanish aid group Proactiva Open Arms and German organization Sea-Watch went to the aid of four wooden boats and one dinghy in distress, MSF said on Twitter.

“We have completed the 5th rescue and now have 716 people onboard. Unfortunately, for one person we arrived too late,” the group said.

No details were immediately available about the identity of the dead person or those rescued. Most of the people reaching Italy by sea are from sub-Saharan Africa and some 15 percent are from Bangladesh.

Reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Larry King

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