The Italian coastguard says nearly 4,700 migrants were rescued from boats in the Mediterranean on Saturday, releasing video of the rescue operations at sea.
AT SEA (SEPTEMBER 19, 2015) (GUARDIA COSTIERA) – Nearly 4,700 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Saturday (September 19) as they tried to reach Europe but one woman was found dead on board a boat, Italy’s coastguard said in a statement.
The coastguard released a short video showing officers intercepting a crammed migrant boat and a rubber dinghy carrying many migrants at sea.
The migrants were expected to be transferred to ports in Sicily and southern Italy, with two groups of over 300 people due to arrive in the southern Sicilian port of Pozzallo on Sunday (September 20) morning.
The coastguard said it had coordinated 20 rescue operations involving numerous vessels which picked up 4,343 migrants from rubber boats and barges. In one of the inflatable boats, a woman’s body was found, the coastguard said, without specifying the possible cause of death.
Another 335 people were picked up as part of a rescue mission coordinated by Greece and were being directed to a port in Italy to disembark.
The rescues were carried out by vessels from the Italian coastguard and navy, humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders, the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station, a merchant boat, a Croatian vessel under the European Union’s Triton rescue mission and naval ships from Germany and Britain under the EU’s EUNAVFOR Med mission.
The new arrivals came as Hungary and Croatia traded threats on Saturday while thousands of exhausted migrants poured over their borders, deepening the disarray in Europe over how to handle the crisis.
EU leaders, deeply divided, are due to meet on Wednesday (September 23) in a fresh attempt to agree on how and where to distribute 160,000 refugees among their countries, but the noises from some of the newer members of the bloc were far from friendly.