A Syrian refugee gave birth at sea on her way to Italy as the number of arrivals fleeing the war-torn country this year rose to nearly 3,000 people, officials said.
The woman was one of 355 refugees — most of them from Syria — on two boats intercepted by coast guard and navy vessels and escorted to Sicily on Wednesday.
“We found her with a piece of the umbilical cord still attached,” Luca Sancilio, the local coast guard commander in Syracuse told news channel SkyTG24.
Sancilio initially said the woman had given birth to a little girl, although the hospital where they were taken later said the baby was in fact a boy.
The coast guard estimated the baby was about four days old and was born during the eight-day voyage. Mother and son are well and resting, the hospital said.
A coast guard plane on Tuesday spotted the heavily overcrowded boat that the woman was travelling on. The people on board included 48 children.
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