ROME: Around 50 Egyptian migrants were rescued by Italians after their small fishing boat ran aground in the seaside town of Riposto in Sicily early on Monday, local officials said.
The boat is Italian and officials are attempting to trace its origins.
"We’re not sure who helped them because there was no one in or near the boat when authorities arrived," a police spokesman said. "The Egyptians were heading off on foot."
Another 67 immigrants, mostly Egyptian, were sighted offshore in a larger fishing boat and towed into the nearby port of Catania in the southern Italian island.
"The men were escorted to a temporary center for medical and identity checks. One was in a pretty poor state, he’s been taken to hospital," said Franco Ferranti of Catania’s financial police.
The immigrants on both boats initially claimed to be Libyan.
The operation was carried out by the local coast guard, police and financial police.