Despite of winter fast approaching and the weather continuously getting worse, people continue to attempt the dangerous crossing from Libya to Italy.
On Saturday, in a total of three rescue operations, SOS MEDITERRANEE brought and tended to 280 people aboard the AQUARIUS. Many of the survivors were in need of medical care as a number were suffering from severe injuries and burns caused by the dangerous combination of salt water and gasoline.
At 4:30 am on Saturday morning the AQUARIUS was called to support a MOAS rescue operation. 128 refugees were safely taken aboard the AQUARIUS, amongst them five pregnant women and 27 unaccompanied minors. The majority of the rescued were from Guinea and Nigeria.
Shortly thereafter the AQUARIUS crew assisted in the evacuation of a wooden boat carrying over 700 people. Phoenix (MOAS) and Bourbon Argos (Doctors Without Borders) were already on location, as SOS MEDITERRANEE supported the efforts by, among other things, distributing life vests. All survivors were safely brought on board Phoenix and Bourbon Argos.
In the late afternoon, SOS MEDITERRANEE then took 151 people on board, who had previously been saved by Jugend Rettet. Amongst them were many unaccompanied minors (39). Here too, Guinea and Nigeria were the main countries of origin.
All the rescued previously aboard the AQUARIUS were transferred to the VosHestia (Save the Children), which will take them to the Italian mainland.
The AQUARIUS remains in the rescue zone to continue to save lives.
SOS MEDITERRANEE continues to be alarmed by the increasing casualties in the Central Mediterranean. In 2016, 4,271 people have died trying to get to Europe. As many as never before.