Migrants killed and injured as boat's gas cylinder explodes as they cross the Mediterranean

A gas cylinder exploded, injuring most of the migrants on board Credit: UNHCR

Up to 70 migrants, including young children, have been rescued from a dinghy in the Mediterranean after a gas cylinder on their boat exploded, killing several and leaving others badly hurt.

The refugees, from sub-Saharan Africa, had been refused treatment by human traffickers before being set adrift.

Up to 70 refugees were rescued from a dinghy Credit: UNHCR

They were taken to a health centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa to be treated for heavy burns after being found in the half-deflated boat two days later.

Officials today said more than 13,000 migrants had been rescued at sea over the past two weeks as people flee violence and instability in Africa for the relative safety of Europe.

Tens of thousands of migrants have arrived in Italy and Greece since the start of the year, with a spike in recent weeks as calmer weather makes the crossing marginally less dangerous.

Hundreds more have died while making the journey.

Those on board had suffered severe burns Credit: UNHCR
The migrants were denied hospital treatment Credit: UNHCR

Spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Barbara Molinario, said the rescue highlighted the escalating situation in the region.

Tens of thousands of people have fled to Europe from Africa since the start of the year Credit: UNHCR
The migrants were taken to a health centre in Lampedusa Credit: UNHCR

She said one of the refugees, a 25-year-old woman, had already died of her injuries before rescuers found them.