Italian authorities say they have rescued hundreds of migrants from Libya after their boat was damaged sending some overboard in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of southern Italy.
Officials say the boat ran aground early Sunday as it approached the island of Lampedusa after a problem with its steering mechanism. Officials say coast guard crews were able to rescue all the migrants and take control of the boat steering it to shore.
Reports put the estimated number of passengers on the boat between 400 and 500, and say the group includes women and children, including some from sub-Saharan Africa.
Thousands of migrants are fleeing unrest in Tunisia and Libya to travel by boat to Lampedusa, one of the closest points of Italian soil to Africa. Local reports say at least 1500 migrants from Libya arrived in Lampedusa over the last 24 hours.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.