The Italian coast guard recovered the bodies of eight people as it rescued a further 84 from a dinghy that ran into trouble off Libya’s coast, it said on Saturday (January 6).
The coast guard said the migrants had been spotted in the morning by a plane patrolling the sea. Dramatic video released by the agency showed the moment that migrants were pulled from the water to safety.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have fled conflict or poverty at home and are now trapped in Libya, where they had hoped to pay people smugglers for passage to Europe via Italy.
In late December the United Nations began bringing African refugees to Italy from Libya, evacuating them from detention centres whose conditions have been condemned by humanitarian groups as inhumane.