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1,000 Migrants Rescued Off Libyan Coast; Two Dead

  • Associated Press

FILE - Proactiva Open Arms lifeguard Ivan Martinez, from Spain, rescues migrants from a rubber boat sailing out of control, in the Mediterranean sea, about 56 miles north of Sabratha, Libya, April 6, 2017.

Two migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday during a rescue operation that saved more than 1,000 others who were attempting the dangerous crossing to Europe, according to a Spanish aid group.

Laura Lanuza, spokeswoman for Spain's Proactiva Open Arms, said that while two migrants perished in international waters off the Libyan coast, the Spanish aid group and five other humanitarian organizations saved 1,058 migrants after intercepting several smugglers' boats.

Lanuza said that in addition to the two deaths, another two migrants were in critical condition.

The Golfo Azzurro, Proactiva Open Arms' converted fishing trawler, pulled 243 migrants from two smugglers' boats. That group included one baby, a pregnant woman and several children.

FILE - Migrants line up as they wait to be processed by Italian authorities aboard the former fishing trawler Golfo Azzurro moored in the port of Augusta following their rescue by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms from their drifting dinghies off the Libyan coast in central Mediterranean Sea, April 2, 2017.
FILE - Migrants line up as they wait to be processed by Italian authorities aboard the former fishing trawler Golfo Azzurro moored in the port of Augusta following their rescue by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms from their drifting dinghies off the Libyan coast in central Mediterranean Sea, April 2, 2017.

The other boats that participated in the massive rescue operation belonged to Save the Children, Sea Watch, Moas, Sea Eye and Jugend Rettet Iuventa.

Lanuza said that the fleet of aid boats also reached another 289 migrants in different crafts that they helped transfer to Italian coast guard boats, which arrived as reinforcements.

Libya is one of the prime spots for smugglers to launch their unseaworthy boats packed with migrants and refugees. Thousands have perished in recent years attempting the crossing.

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