300 migrants rescued off Spain over two-day Christmas period

More than half of those who were rescued were found off the Costa Blanca on Spain’s southeastern coast.

A total of 39 migrants reach Spain by boat
A Spanish Civil Guard officer checks some of the 39 migrants that arrived ashore at the Punta Salinas beach in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain on Thursday [Carlos de Saa/EPA]

About 100 refugees and migrants were rescued off the coast of Spain on Thursday, adding to about another 200 plucked off makeshift boats on Christmas Day, Spain’s maritime rescue service said.

More than half of them were found off the Costa Blanca on Spain’s southeastern coast, with 10 people rescued just before dawn, among them eight men, a woman and a child.

Later in the morning, rescuers saved 16 men off a boat near Torrevieja, while another 12 men were rescued from a dinghy off Xabia, some 45 kilometres (27 miles) up the coast from Benidorm.

And on Spain’s southern coast, 17 men were found in waters off Cabo de Gata near Almeria, while another man was found floating on what rescuers described as “an inflatable toy boat” in the Motril area, while his friend was thought to be drowned. 

Rescuing migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea

Another 39 people reached the shore at Punta Jandia on the southwestern tip of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, the spokesman said.

There was no immediate information on the nationalities of those rescued.

Some 200 others were rescued on Christmas Day in a number of separate operations off the coast of Spain and Morocco.

About 120 of them were picked up around the Zaffarin islands off Morocco and the tiny islet of Alboran, Spain’s coastguard said.

Several other dinghies were found off the southeastern coast of Spain, off Gibraltar and near the Canary Islands.

So far this year, at least 1,250 men, women and children have died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said in a statement on December 20.

Source: AFP