Italian coastguards rescued more than 400 migrants off the southern island of Lampedusa on Thursday, including a group of 300 men, women and children crammed into a wooden boat, officials said.
The number of migrants from Africa arriving on Italian shores has spiked in recent weeks, boosted by the balmy summer weather and calmer sea conditions.
Italian coastguards said they first helped two rubber dinghies — one carrying 49 people, the other 57 — in the sea off Lampedusa before spotting the boat with about 300 people.
Those on board included women and children, some suffering from dehydration. They were taken aboard coastguard vessels which brought them to the island.
The coastguards have also recovered the corpses of seven of as many as 14 migrants spotted floating in Maltese waters by a military aircraft on Tuesday.
Closer to Africa than mainland Italy, Lampedusa is a popular entry point into Europe for thousands of migrants in search of a better life.
Many set sail in flimsy and overcrowded boats that capsize long before they reach safety.