Officials say two women drowned while attempting to reach Italy from North Africa after their boat with 250 people aboard went off course and ran aground just off an Italian island.
Vittorio Alessandro of the Coast Guard said the boat was likely carrying Sub-Saharan Africans as it ran aground Wednesday morning near the small island of Pantelleria.
Migrants threw themselves in the water and were rescued by Italian patrol boats. But Alessandro said they also recovered the bodies of two women.
Just last week, an immigrant boat believed to be carrying 300 migrants capsized and only about 50 people were rescued.
About 26,000 migrants, mostly Tunisians, have reached Italy since January, amid unrest across North Africa.