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Italian sailors rescue boat with 110 migrants, one dead

A migrant sits on rocks and stares at the sea in Lampedusa island on October 26, 2013
A migrant sits on rocks and stares at the sea in Lampedusa island on October 26, 2013

Italy's navy on Tuesday rescued 110 mostly African men from an inflatable dinghy in trouble off the coast of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, and found one passenger on board dead.

The immigrants packed in the small overcrowded boat trying to reach Europe came from Ghana, Mali, Togo and Gambia as well as Pakistan, the navy said in a statement.

A helicopter dropped life jackets to the stranded migrants while the navy dispatched one of its patrol boats to pick up the men. It also ordered a cargo ship to the area to help in the rescue.

The Italian government has launched a major operation called "Mare Nostrum", mobilising warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft to try prevent further tragedies like the two shipwrecks in October in which more than 400 immigrants died.

More than 33,000 migrants had landed in Italy as of late October -- nearly three times more than the number for 2012. Most come from impoverished African countries but now also from Syria.

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