(CNN) -- More than 1,100 asylum seekers have been rescued off the coast of Italy, the nation's navy said in a statement.
Patrol choppers saw the overcrowded rafts, and four navy vessels rescued those on board Wednesday.
Officials believe the asylum seekers were from sub-Saharan Africa. About 50 children were on board.
All of the passengers are en route to the port of Augusta, were they are expected to arrive Friday.