A fishing boat packed with more than 500 migrants has capsized off the Libyan coast.
An Italian navy patrol ship approached the boat and distributed life jackets, but a rush from those on board caused the boat to flip over.
Most were rescued from the water, but five bodies were also recovered.
Women wearing head scarves and children were among those rescued, but no details of the migrants' nationalities have been given.
Several rubber motor boats are being used in the rescue operations, and the navy frigate Bergamini has deployed a helicopter.
Boat arrivals rose sharply this week amid warm weather and calm seas.
Italy's coastguard said 5600 migrants were rescued on Monday and Tuesday, and officials fear numbers will increase as conditions continue to improve.
In the past two years, more than 320,000 boat migrants have arrived on Italian shores and an estimated 7000 died in the Mediterranean as they sought to reach Europe, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Reuters / Newshub.