The Italian coast guard at dawn on Thursday rescued 125 migrants who had been spotted forlornly standing on the shores of Isola dei Conigli, a small island close to Lampedusa.
The migrants had been travelling on different boats, at least one of which had almost sunk.
Using an inflatable mattress the coast guard winched the migrants from the shore to their rescue vessel, in a difficult maneuver made worse by rough seas. Forty-nine women and 20 minors were part of the group.
The group was taken to the island of Lampedusa where they will be held at an immigrant detention center.