Spain pulls 549 migrants from 11 boats in Mediterranean

ASSOCIATED PRESS
MADRID
Published 06.01.2019 16:43
Migrants disembark from a Maritime Rescue Services vessel at the port in Almeria, Spain, Jan. 5, 2019. (EPA Photo)
Migrants disembark from a Maritime Rescue Services vessel at the port in Almeria, Spain, Jan. 5, 2019. (EPA Photo)

Spain's maritime rescue service says it saved 549 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

The service says its craft intercepted six small boats carrying a total of 350 migrants on Saturday in waters east of the Strait of Gibraltar.

On Sunday another 199 migrants were pulled from five different boats, including two tiny inflatable boats meant for small bodies of water or near the beach. One of those tiny recreational boats was carrying four children. The other was packed with 10 adults.

The United Nations refugee agency estimates that 2,262 migrants died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2018.

The European Union's border agency says that 57,000 illegal immigrants reached Spain last year, double the figure for 2017. Overall, unauthorized border crossings into Europe hit a five-year low.

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