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Cyprus

Migrants rescued from stranded boat (Update 4)

Migrants being brought to Latchi last year

 

 

A fishing boat with around 120 passengers that was stranded in the rough sea north of Polis Chrysochous was safely towed to the Latchi harbour, the defence ministry announced on Wednesday.

A pregnant woman and a small child were transferred to the Polis Chrysochous hospital as a precaution.

A rescue operation was launched by the Republic’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) to locate and tow the boat after it received information at around 12.44pm that the vessel – carrying around 120 to 150 people – was probably in danger.

Bad weather made the rescue operation difficult, said the ministry. Bad weather, low visibility and heavy sea meant the exact position of the boat was detected only after continuous search by a National Guard helicopter and with the use of long range thermal cameras at 5.35pm, northwest of Pomos village.

Efforts focused on rescuing children first, and then towing the boat with the remaining people to Latchi harbour. The boat arrived at Latchi shortly after 10pm.

The exact number of the boat passengers will be announced at a later stage, the ministry said.

State broadcaster CyBC reported that some of the refugees that appear to be of Syrian origin had already contacted family members who live in Cyprus and informed them that their boat’s engine had a mechanical problem and had broken down.

At the harbour ambulances were ready to provide first aid to the refugees if necessary, while state services were at the harbour to receive the refugees.

A team of officers from the Paphos police station were also on site to register the personal details of the refugees and enquire about their port of departure, how much they paid for their transfer and investigate whether traffickers were among the group.

According to media reports, authorities are searching for a second boat with around ten passengers following information given by the UNFICYP peacekeeping forces stationed in the area. The second boat was reportedly seen off Pachyammos. There has been speculation that they reached the shore and fled to the north. The reports, however, could not be confirmed.

 

 

 

 

 

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