A wooden fishing boat overcrowded with more than 500 refugees capsized off the coast of Libya on Wednesday, killing at least five people.
A series of photographs captured by an Italian Navy vessel on the scene show the scary moments as the boat rocked back and forth before capsizing, leaving scores of people swimming for safety and others scambling up the overturned hull of the boat.
The Italian Navy reports that it deployed a helicopter and several small boats during the rescue operation.
Reuters reports that boat arrivals rose sharply this week with warmer weather and calm seas. More than 5,600 migrants were rescued in operations on Monday and Tuesday carried out by the Italian coastguard, and officials fear the the number of Mediterranean crossings will only increase as weather continues to improve.