Migrant Boats in Mediterranean Spike as Another 45 Bodies Recovered, 135 Rescued

Image: The Italian Navy rescued a dinghy with 629 migrants and 45 dead bodies
The Italian Navy rescued a dinghy with 629 migrants and 45 dead bodies.Marina Militare

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By Elisha Fieldstadt and Reuters

The Italian Navy rescued 135 migrants and recovered 45 bodies from a half-sunken dinghy Friday in the Mediterranean Sea, officials said.

The 135 survivors were among 629 rescued migrants being carried on the navy ship Vega and due to arrive in Reggio Calabria on the shores of southern Italy on Saturday, the navy tweeted.

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More than 2,000 migrants in all were rescued Friday, the Italian Coast Guard said.

About 14,000 migrants have been taken off flimsy and sinking boats, rafts and dinghies in the waters between Libya and Italy since Monday, according to Reuters.

On Saturday, another 100-plus migrants were picked up from inflatable boats, the Italian Navy said.

PHOTOS: Thousands Rescued From Mediterranean Sea in 72 Hours

The warmer, calmer seas have smugglers sending a greater volume of boats — crowded with those fleeing war-torn and poverty-stricken countries — toward Europe's shores.

The International Organization for Migration reported Friday that 202,825 migrants have arrived to Europe so far in 2016. Another 1,370 have died or gone missing while attempting the journey.