At least 17 Bangladeshi migrants have drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisiainfo-icon as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from Libyainfo-icon, the Tunisian Red Crescent said on Wednesday.

More than 380 others were rescued by the coastguard at the same time.

The boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya's northwest coast, carrying migrants from Bangladeshinfo-icon, Syriainfo-icon, Egyptinfo-icon, Sudaninfo-icon, Eritrea and Mali, the humanitarian organization said.

"Seventeen Bengali died and more than 380 other migrants (were) rescued in a boat that set off from Libya's Zuwara towards Europe," Red Crescent official Mongi Slim said.

In recent months, several people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings to Europe from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy as the weather has improved.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years, many of them fleeing conflictinfo-icon and poverty in Africainfo-icon and the Middle Eastinfo-icon.

Arrivals in Italy, one of the main migrant routes into Europe, had been falling in recent years, but numbers picked up again in 2021.