Two migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea on during a rescue operation that saved more than 1,000 others who were attempting the dangerous crossing to Europe, according to a Spanish aid group. Laura Lanuza, the spokeswoman for Spain’s Proactiva Open Arms, said that while two migrants perished in international waters off the Libyan coast, the Spanish aid group and five other humanitarian organizations saved 1,058 migrants after intercepting several smugglers’ boats.
Lanuza said that in addition to the deaths, two other migrants were in critical condition. The Golfo Azzurro, Proactiva Open Arms’ converted fishing trawler, pulled 243 migrants from two smugglers’ boats. That group included one baby, a pregnant woman and several children.
The other boats that participated in the massive rescue operation belonged to Save the Children, Sea Watch, Moas, Sea Eye and Jugend Rettet Iuventa. Lanuza said that the fleet of aid boats also reached another 289 migrants in different crafts that they helped transfer to Italian coast guard boats, which arrived as reinforcements.
Libya is one of the prime spots for smugglers to launch their unseaworthy boats packed with migrants and refugees. Thousands have perished in recent years attempting the crossing.