(REUTERS) – The bodies of five migrants were recovered and 534 others were saved on Thursday following an array of rescue operations in the Mediterranean sea, Italy’s coastguard said.
The migrants were picked up from two large rubber dinghies and nine other smaller boats, the coastguard said, giving no details about how the deaths occurred.
Vessels from the Italian and German navy joined four ships run by humanitarian groups in the various rescue missions.
Latest data from the International Organization for Migrants, released on Aug. 9, said some 100,244 migrants have reached Italy by boat this year, many of them setting sail from Libya. An estimated 2,742 men, women and children have died over the same period trying to make the journey.
Italy has been on the front line of Europe’s migrant crisis for three years, and more than 400,000 have successfully made the voyage to Italy from North Africa since the beginning of 2014, fleeing violence and poverty.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Toby Chopra)