ROME/VALLETTA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Some 50 people, including 10 children, have died after a boat carrying some 250 African migrants capsized on Friday in waters between Malta and Italy's Sicily, a week after a shipwreck left more than 300 people dead near the Italian island of Lampedusa, local media reported.
According to Italy's RAI state television, about 200 people have so far been rescued.
The heavily overloaded boat capsized some 104 kilometers south of Lampedusa, in waters where Malta has search and rescue responsibilities. It was toppled as agitated migrants tried to catch the attention of a military aircraft that was flying over the area.
A patrol boat of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) was first on the scene. Two Italian navy ships also rushed to the spot after they received an alarm from Maltese authorities. Helicopters were also launching life jackets and rafts into the sea.
A total of 150 survivors were placed on a Maltese vessel and another 56, including 10 children, were on an Italian navy ship, Italy's ANSA agency reported quoting sources from the rescue teams.
The latest incident took place only one week after more than 300 people, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, died when another boat caught fire and capsized near Lampedusa.
Only 155 of the estimated 518 people on board the ship have so far been confirmed to have survived. Divers were still searching for the missing bodies.
A study found that nearly 20,000 people have died in the hazardous Mediterranean crossing over the past 25 years.
Italy has repeatedly called on the EU to enhance efforts to help deal with the migrant issue.
This year, more than 30,000 African migrants have landed on Italian shores. The capacity of Lampedusa's migrant center has been greatly exceeded. A number of people are forced to sleep outside as migrant boats continued to reach the island.
Visiting Lampedusa on Wednesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the European Union (EU) would speed up efforts to help with the situation in the Mediterranean.