At least 40 migrants have died at sea and hundreds more have been rescued from an overcrowded smugglers’ boat in the Mediterranean sea.
The Italian navy said more than 320 people had been saved, but because the rescue was still ongoing authorities said the victims were “still being counted”.
RaiNews24 TV said the people who died were found in the hold of the boat north of Libya.
They are thought to have suffocated after inhaling fumes from fuel after the vessel took on water.
The captain of the navy ship leading the rescue, Massimo Tozzi, said his men found the dead “immersed in water, fuel and human excrement”.