The Italian Coast Guard has rescued those onboard a six-meter boat that left from the coast of Sfax in Tunisia carrying dozens of African migrants. Eight corpses were found onboard.
At least two people went missing at sea and are presumed dead, including a 4-month-old infant, according to accounts given by people onboard.
The rescue happened over the night in Maltese search and rescue waters around 42 miles from Lampedusa, where the motorised patrol boat used for the rescue took the 42 survivors.
Those rescued are nationals of Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
The migrants rescued said that a woman with her four-month-old infant had also been onboard. The infant, they said, died of the cold during the journey and the mother threw the baby's corpse into the sea out of desperation.
One man then jumped into the sea in the hope of recovering the corpse of the infant but died among the waves.
The infant's mother also died a few hours afterwards as well, they said, but her body was left inside the boat alongside those of seven of her other travel companions.
The Agrigento prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into the case, with possible charges to include aiding and abetting of undocumented migration and manslaughter resulting from another crime.
The prosecutor's office will question 41 of the 42 survivors.