Update | Armed Forces rescue three more survivors after sea tragedy

Malta Rescue Coordination Centre in search and rescue operation 300 miles south east of Malta; several corpses spotted out at sea

File photo.
File photo.

The Malta Armed Forces have rescued three more survivors in an ongoing search and rescue operation some 300 miles south east of Malta. A corpse was also recovered and will be brought to Malta on Sunday. The survivors are claiming that their boat was rammed by another boat.  The three survivors are expected to arrive in Malta onboard a merchant vessel.

The other survivors were earlier evacuated to Crete. 

Merchant vessels in the area, as well as Maltese and Italian Maritime Patrol Aircraft, are being used in the operation. 

Earlier this morning, the Armed Foces of Malta coordinated the rescue of a small group of people, including two children. Two bodies were recovered and will be brought to Malta.

The rescue took place in the past hours after a merchant vessel, AMS Pegasus, sighted two persons in water. The two, believed to be migrants in transit, said they had been onboard a vessel that sunk. RCC Malta was contacted and ordered several merchant vessels transiting in the vicinity to take part on a series of searches in the area to locate other possible persons at sea.

RCC Malta also despatched an AFM Maritime Patrol Aircraft in order to conduct further searches in the area. Through coordination between RCC MT and MRCC Rome, three Italian Coastguard and Navy Aircrafts were also despatched towards the area in order to assist in the SAR operation. 

An Italian Coastguard Aircraft spotted a group of persons in the water in one of the search areas  and launched a life raft in aid of the spotted persons . A total of seven persons including two children were recovered by merchant vessels assisting in the area. 

During the rescue operation a number of corpses were spotted but priority was given to save the rescued persons.  

"In view that the rescued persons were in need of urgent medical assistance and Greece was the closest place of safety and within helicopter range of the merchant vessels, RCC MT coordinated a MEDEVAC with the Greek Rescue Coordination Centre and Greek Coastguard. RCC MT is currently coordinating further searches in the area in order to locate other possible survivors also with the assistance of MRCC Rome," the AFM said.

 In view of limited visibility and night conditions the search was temporarily suspended and was expected to resume early in the morning.