More than 470 migrants heading for Spain rescued by coastguards

A TOTAL of 476 people bound for Spain have been rescued by the country’s coastguards in the Mediterranean during a surge in crossings brought on by better weather conditions.

Three migrants were taken to hospital with hypothermia, chest pains and a suspected fractured ankle, according to Red Cross sources quoted in Spanish media.

Those three were from around 111 migrants, made up of 103 men and eight women, of the total of 308 picked up on Friday.

Two were taken to Malaga while another was airlifted by helicopter to Almeria “sick and semi-unconscious”, according to reports.

The Salvamento Maritimo located and rescued the 476 migrants from a total of 15 vessels on Friday and Saturday. Calm weather in the Strait of Gibraltar was reportedly a factor in the number of crossings made.

Antonio Sanz Cabello, the government’s delegate in Malaga, said on Twitter a total of 308 migrants had arrived on the Andalucian coast in 8 boats by the end of Friday.

In a later post he thanked coastguards for their “professionalism and delivery” during the operations.

In a separate development a further 105 migrants were reportedly rescued by Proactiva Open Arms, a refugee NGO, in the sea near Libya during their own operation.The group reportedly found the migrants in a boat without an engine.

Most of the migrants picked up over the weekend are believed to be from sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 22,429 migrants have arrived on the coasts of Europe since the start of this year and 615 have died making the journey, according to United Nations estimates.

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Joe Gerrard

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