Fifty-eight migrants have been rescued from a stranded vessel 36 miles off the Spanish coast while four died at sea and up to 16 are believed to be missing.
The migrants’ boat was located in the Mediterranean Sea, 36 miles off the coast of Melilla, a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa that shares a border with Morocco.
Aided by the Spanish Maritime Safety and Rescue Society (Sasemar), the immigrants arrived at the Port of Melilla at around 11.15 pm where the survivors were helped by members of the Red Cross.
The local authorities said there were three minors on board the boat.
A Sasemar spokesperson told Central European News (CEN): “Sasemar managed to rescued 58 people, three died during the rescue and a fourth person died at the port [of Melilla].”
The spokesperson said that a further 16 are believed to have disappeared at sea, adding: “The NGO ‘Caminando Fronteras’ reported that a boat had left from Charrana in Morocco. We managed to save 58 and four died so we believe 16 are missing.”
According to local media, the immigrants were rescued by the Salvamar Spica ship with the help of the helicopter HE Helimer 203 which belong to Sasemar.
Members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also arrived at the port with officers of the National Police and the Spanish Civil Guard to determine if any of the survivors require international asylum.
Sasemar is also looking for a second boat that left the North African coast with 73 immigrants on board but has not been found yet.
The authorities have not yet announced the origins of the people aboard the boat.