More than 200 migrants have been rescued by Italian coastguards from a stricken boat in the rough waters just off the country's southern coast.

Police say they received a call on Saturday from someone who received a text message from a migrant aboard asking for help.

Among those rescued were 54 women and 57 children.

Earlier during the day, the coastguards had rescued 120 migrants from a sinking ship which was making its way towards Sicily.

Lampedusa tragedy

The two rescues came just days after a similar fishing boat sank off Italy's southern island of Lampedusa, killing more at least 185 people.

Up to 200 migrants are still thought to be missing after the disaster.

Divers spoke of "dozens, maybe hundreds" of bodies trapped in the wreck, which lies on the seabed at a depth of around 130ft within sight of the shore of Italy's southernmost point.

Officials said more bodies may have been lost forever due to strong currents around the island.

The 65ft migrant boat sank on Thursday after a fire was set onboard to attract attention because of a problem.

The migrants had spent two days at sea travelling from Libya.

The scope of the tragedy at Lampedusa has prompted outpourings of grief and calls for a comprehensive EU immigration policy to deal with the tens of thousands fleeing poverty and strife in Africa and the Middle East.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies