440 people rescued by NGO vessel in Malta SAR zone after four days in stormy seas

440 people were rescued by Doctors without Borders during an 11-hour-long rescue operation in the Maltese SAR zone • One survivor was evacuated to Malta with severe dehydration

Photo: MSF_Sea/Twitter
Photo: MSF_Sea/Twitter

440 people were rescued by NGO Doctors without Borders in Malta’s SAR zone after spending four days in stormy seas.

The NGO’s vessel Geo Barents rescued the 440 people after receiving a distress alert. They reached the boat in distress after more than 10 hours of navigation.

Due to bad weather, the team onboard could not perform the rescue immediately and instead remains near the boat to monitor the situation and reassure the people on board.

Eventually, they managed to rescue 440 people, including eight women and 30 children.

One survivor was evacuated to Malta by helicopter because of severe dehydration and an associated pathology. The man was unconscious at the time of rescue.

Italian authorities confirmed with the NGO that 100 people will be transshipped to an Italian naval asset off Sicily. The other survivors will disembark in Brindisi.

Over the past days, the people on board had to battle strong winds at 27 knots and high waves in the area.

When NGO Alarm Phone reached out to the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, they suggested that Malta was the responsible authority.

There were two merchant vessels in the vicinity on Tuesday, but they were not equipped to carry out such a large rescue operation.