More than 1,000 migrants were rescued trying to cross the Mediterranean over the weekend, Italy's coastguard said Sunday, with further tragedies narrowly averted.
Several inflatable dinghies intercepted on Sunday were so overcrowded they risked capsizing, and one boat was listing badly when it was spotted 137 miles southeast of Sicily.
Croatian navy vessel SB72 Andrija Mohorovicic -- which is part of the EU's Triton patrol and rescue operation in the Mediterranean -- rushed to the boat's aid, coastguards said.
In total, 671 people -- including 48 children and 108 women -- were plucked from unseaworthy vessels in five separate rescue operations on Sunday alone.
The Italian patrol boat Diciotti was taking 400 migrants to the Sicilian port of Pozzallo where it was due to dock on Monday morning, while the Croatian vessel was heading for the port of Augusta on the east of the island.