Dozens of migrants rescued from Italian desert island by helicopter

The 32 migrants, including a child, are from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Mali

Migrants in a wooden boat south of the Italian island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean, in August 2022. AP
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Italy's coastguard sent a helicopter to rescue 32 migrants, including a child, who had been stranded on a desert island in the central Mediterranean since the previous day.

The migrants were rescued from the islet of Lampione, part of the same archipelago as Lampedusa.

The rescue was impossible by sea because of "particularly adverse" weather conditions, the coastguard said.

The migrants were taken by helicopter to Lampedusa, the usual landing spot for people who set off from Tunisia and Libya.

The helicopter made several trips in winds of up to 50 knots, the coastguard said.

The rescued migrants are from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Mali, the Ansa news agency reported.

Earlier Monday, charity Alarm Phone, which picks up calls from migrant boats in distress, said a vessel with about 500 people aboard needed rescuing in international waters off Libya.

Italy migrant boat tragedy - in pictures

In February, a deadly shipwreck took place when Italian police boats failed to intercept a migrant boat in rough seas near the coast of the southern Calabria region.

More than 90 people died, and charities and opposition politicians have questioned why the coastguard, with vessels better equipped for high seas, did not intervene immediately.

Updated: April 03, 2023, 9:18 PM