AFM rescue seven, including children, on leaking boat in Malta’s SAR

The small boat was in danger of sinking

Thu, Aug 19th 2021, 10:53 Last updated on 19/8/21

Kristina Abela

Two children rescued in August by search and rescue NGO Sea Watch International. Credit: Sea Watch International

Seven people including children were rescued from a drifting boat by the Armed Forces of Malta last night, after fears were raised by an NGO that the boat was in danger of capsizing.

The rubber boat was located in Malta's SAR on Wednesday. It started taking in water in the afternoon and was in danger due to rough weather, Alarm Phone tweeted last night.

An AFM spokesperson said seven asylum seekers were brought in last night, but was not able to give any information about the condition of those rescued.

The asylum seekers, are Libyan nationals.

“They were desperate when they contacted us," a spokesperson for Alarm Phone said.

"Waves were up to 2m high yesterday and their rubber boat was small. Till today we were very afraid the boat had sunk since AFM didn't give us any information,” she said.

The Armed Forces of Malta had not replied to the NGO’s calls and emails since Wednesday evening, the spokesperson explained.

UNHCR estimates this year to date show that 1,016 are feared dead or missing while making the deadly Mediterranean crossing, while arrivals in European countries amounted to 53,512.

Out of the total number, around 325 disembarked in Malta. 67% were men, followed by unaccompanied and separated children (29%), adult women (2%) and accompanied children (2%), according to the UNHCR.