Italy rescues boat with 105 Syrian refugees
ROME - Agence France-Presse
This handout video grab released by the Italian Coast Guards shows a rescue operation of Syrian refugees off Sicily early on Dec. 7. AFP photo / Guardia CosteraThe Italian navy and coastguard said Dec. 7 they rescued overnight over 100 Syrian refugees after their boat got into difficulties off the coast of Sicily.
The boat, which had launched distress signals while more than 300 miles south of Sicily, was located in the night by two naval vessels, said officials, adding that life jackets were then given to all passengers.
Weather conditions had initially made it difficult to transfer the refugees from their ailing craft. But on Dec. 7 morning the coastguard was able to recover 105 passengers, including six women and 25 children, all of them Syrians. They were taken to Syracuse, in the southeast of Sicily's main island.
Their rescue comes just days after another group of 120 refugees, mainly Syrians, were saved on Dec. 2 after their ship was found adrift off of Calabria, on Italy's southern mainland.
More than 400 immigrants died in early October in two shipwrecks, one near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the other near the coast of Malta.
Shortly after the tragedy, the Italian government launched a major operation called "Mare Nostrum", mobilising warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft to prevent further incidents.
Also on Dec. 7, Spanish authorities announced they had saved some 46 refugees. The group had been plucked from four boats off of Spain's southeastern coast.