One thousand boat migrants rescued, one found dead in Mediterranean

ROME: Some 1,000 migrants were saved from leaky boats in the central Mediterranean on Friday and one person was found dead, Italy's coast guard said.

An Italian coast guard ship, the Spanish humanitarian group Proactiva Open Arms and a Caribbean-registered supply vessel went to the aid of six rubber dinghies and three wooden vessels.

"A dead body was recovered from one of the rubber boats," the coast guard said in a statement. They gave no details about the migrants' nationalities.

The sea crossing from Libya to Italy, operated by people smugglers based in the unstable North African state, is now the main route for migrants seeking better lives in Europe.

A record 181,000 mainly African boat migrants reached Italy last year, pushing the total number of arrivals in the past three years over half a million.