At least seven migrants who were on a boat heading for the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa have died of hypothermia, Italy's ANSA news agency reported on Tuesday.
The coastguard sighted the boat some 24 miles (50 km) off the coast of Lampedusa overnight and found three bodies onboard, while another four people died shortly before docking into port, according to ANSA.
Lampedusa Mayor Salvatore Martello confirmed the death toll, adding the vessel was carrying 280 migrants, mainly from Bangladesh and Egypt.
Italy, a major route into Europe for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and other migrants, has seen an increase in migrant boats in recent months.
As of January 24, 1,751 migrants have disembarked in Italy's ports so far this year, according to government data.