The Italian Coast Guard on Sunday rescued over 550 migrants from dangerous waters amid storms off the coast of Italy, The Associated Press reports.
The migrants, mostly men and boys from Egypt, were being transported through the waters in overcrowded boats that could not handle the turbulent seas.
The first rescue operation was conducted early Sunday when 303 migrants were brought ashore to the port of Roccella Jonica near the region of Calabria. A second rescue effort occurred later in the day, saving 250 migrants.
Red Cross volunteers aided the migrants upon their arrival, helping them dry off and warm up and providing them with food.
The migrants were likely coming from Turkey, with a final destination of the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. The route has reportedly become increasingly popular among human traffickers, who mostly use rubber dinghies and wooden boats to transport migrants, notes the AP.
Approximately 57,833 migrants have come to Italy via sea passage in 2021, according to The Associated Press.