Over 2,500 migrants rescued off Italy over weekend

A young man stands wrapped in a blanket after a rescue operation on May 24, 2016 (AFP Photo/Gabriel Bouys) (AFP/File)

Rome (AFP) - More than 2,500 migrants seeking to reach Europe were rescued off the coast of Sicily over the weekend in 20 separate operations, the Italian coastguard said Sunday.

Vessels from the Italian navy and coastguard took part in rescue operations, along with ships from volunteer and aid groups. Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said it had recovered one dead body from one of the migrant boats.

Authorities said 1,348 migrants were picked up Saturday and 1,230 on Sunday.

So far this year more than 48,000 people have been brought to the Italian coast after being pulled from boats trying to cross from Libya, according to the UN refugee agency.

With the return of the good weather the rescue operations are expected to increase. For the time being the numbers arriving are similar to those seen last year and in 2014.