17 migrants saved after dramatic rescue at sea

STORY: TV footage showed rescue boats rushing to save migrants from drowning, staff members throwing life vests and assisting them after embarking.

Eighty-six migrants who remained on the rubber dinghy were seized by the Libyan coast guard, the NGO said.

"We have talked about it and heard about it lots of times, about how people fleeing from Libya prefer to drown rather than go back to Libya, but we have never seen it like this, and it is very tough," said head of rescue mission Izaskun Arriaran.

The rescue took place in international waters and the 'Aita Mari' vessel is heading towards Lampedusa to seek medical assistance for a 15-year-old injured migrant, a spokesperson for the NGO told Reuters.