About 1,400 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats Tuesday off the coast of Libya, according to the Italian coast guard.
Two bodies were also recovered from the boats. No details about their nationalities were immediately available.
Though hundreds of thousands of migrants have traveled across the Mediterranean to Italy over the past four years, it is unusual to see such a large number of people rescued at one time — especially during winter months when the seas are generally more rough.
Thus far in 2018, 974 migrants have reached Italy by sea — less than half the figure during the same period last year, the Interior Ministry said earlier Tuesday before the latest rescues.
The International Organization for Migration has called the Mediterranean Sea the world's "deadliest border." The agency recorded 2,832 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean last year, and more than 4,500 in 2016, reports VoA..