At least 40 migrants died in the hold of a boat off Italy as the EU struggled to cope with the worst refugee crisis since World War II, thousands making dangerous crossings to reach Italy and Greece. “Operation underway……. many migrants saved. At least 40 dead,” the Italian navy said on Twitter while the Corriere della Sera newspaper said those who died were found in the hold of the vessel, apparently having suffocated below deck. An Italian navy helicopter had spotted the boat, which was overcrowded and starting to sink,” about 21 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, a reporter with Italy RailNews TV at rescue operation headquarters said. An Italian navy patrol boat was sent to its aid at 7:00am (0500GMT) and when it’s sailors boarded the boat, the grim discovery was made. “We were faced with a very emotional scene,” Commander Massimo Tozzi said. The 312 survivors were then transferred to the Norwegian vessel Siem Pilot.