More than 2,000 migrants rescued in Mediterranean Sea, Italian coast guard says

Migrants in an overcrowded plastic raft reach out for life jackets during a search and rescue operation by rescue ship Aquarius, operated by SOS Mediterranean and Doctors without Borders, in central Mediterranean Sea..

Handout via Reuters

ROME -- Some 2,100 migrants have been rescued at sea to be brought to safety in Italy, the Italian coast guard said Saturday.

Among those rescued Friday and early Saturday was a 6-week-old boy, one of seven migrants transferred to a coast guard motorboat to be sped to a medical facility. One body was recovered.

The onset of warmer weather has encouraged even more human traffickers based in Libya to launch overcrowded, unseaworthy dinghies or small wooden boats, leaving migrants to the mercy of the deadly Mediterranean Sea.

Besides Italian coast guard vessels and a Spanish navy ship, two cargo ships and boats operated by NGOs helped in the rescue effort.

The migrants, most lately from sub-Saharan Africa, are fleeing war, conflict as well as poverty.

Spain's defense ministry said migrants were plucked from rubber boats and wooden craft intercepted in waters near Libya's coast.

The ministry said the baby saved had been showing signs of dehydration.