(REUTERS )Rescuers saved around 750 migrants from rubber and wooden boats in the central Mediterranean but recovered five dead bodies during the operations, the Italian coastguard said on Saturday.
Coastguard and naval ships as well as privately owned fishing and merchant vessels rescued the people from six boats in the central Mediterranean over the last 24 hours, a coastguard spokesman said.
He gave no details on the nationalities of those saved or those who died.
Last year a record 181,000 boat migrants, mostly from Africa, reached Italy, according to government figures. The majority paid Libyan people traffickers to make the journey.
2016 was also the deadliest year on record for migrants in the Mediterranean, with almost 5,000 deaths, according to the International Organization for Migration.
(Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)