About 6,500 migrants have been rescued off Libya, the Italian coastguard says, in one of many largest operations of its sort up to now.
Migrants from Eritrea and Somalia cheered, with some leaping into the water and swimming to the rescue vessels whereas others rigorously carried infants aboard, AP information company reported.
Some 40 separate rescue operations occurred, the coastguard mentioned.
The instability in Libya has made the nation a hub for people-trafficking.
The rescue occurred about 20km (12 miles) off the Libyan city of Sabratha and included vessels from Italy in addition to the EU’s border company Frontex and the NGOs Proactiva Open Arms and Medecins Sans Frontieres.
The migrants had set off in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels with sufficient gas to achieve ready rescuers, the Related Press information company reported.