A group of 19 migrants -among them 16 Syrians- have been picked up by the Spanish humanitarian organization Open Arms.

The Associated Press learned from the rescued migrants that some were throwing themselves into the sea, making it harder for the rescue team to bring them to safety.

The organization had earlier announced that in the largest rescue operation, its crew had rescued 294 people, most of them Egyptians, from a crowded steamboat in the waters south of Malta.

The rescue operation continued from the late hours of the night to the early morning of Sunday after the migrants were left stranded at sea for four days.