People who fled the unrest in Tunisia stand in line after arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2011.

A group of African migrants rescued from a dinghy in the Mediterranean by an Italian navy ship say that 10 of their fellow passengers died during a crossing from Libya, Italian media reported on Tuesday.

The 48 migrants, including 12 women, were found adrift on Monday about111 kilometres from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Those who died during the journey, which took place in rough seas, included six Somalis and four Eritreans, the migrants said.

The survivors were taken aboard the Italian navy ship, Orione, which had been dispatched to the area.

Italian authorities were apparently alerted when some of the migrants aboard the dinghy used a satellite telephone to call relatives in Italy to ask for help, the ANSA news agency said. - Sapa-dpa