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Major rescue operation in Central Mediterranean saves over 1500 migrants

Major rescue operation in Central Mediterranean saves over 1500 migrants

The Italian coast guard and five privately-run rescue boats plucked migrants from 16 overcrowded dinghies and three wooden vessels packed with people hoping to make a new life for themselves in Europe.

In a 24 hours marathon of continuous rescue operations, which are still underway, the MOAS crew have rescued and assisted people from a total of 9 vessels, including 7 rubber boats and 2 wooden boats.

The coast guard spokesman confirmed that one person had died but gave no details.

Jugend Rettet spokeswoman Pauline Schmidt told AFP that a further 1,000 people remained to be rescued from inflatable dinghies and other craft, with the rescue ships reaching capacity.

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"In 19 years of covering the migration story, I have never experienced anything like today", said Reuters photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi, who was aboard the Phoenix.

On Friday rescue vessels worked flat out to rescue over 2,000 people from flimsy dinghies.

Since the beginning of the year, 32,750 migrants and refugees have arrived on European shores, not including those rescued this weekend, according to UNHCR. More people will die. Over the busy weekend, Frontex says the Norwegian Siem Pilot, now on rotation for Frontex's Triton program, rescued more than 500 of the almost 7,000 people pulled to safety.

Eleven more migrants of unknown origin were pulled from a small vessel in the Mediterranean Sea after a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft alerted the maritime rescue service.

Wilson, Oshie help Capitals even series
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"Where are Frontex boats in a day like this?" it asked. #EU states keep their blind eyes turned.

Frontex director says it's a paradox that 1/3 of rescues are done by NGOs. We are where we're needed, what's the #EU doing meanwhile?

Rescuers said a teenager had been found dead in one of the rubber boats on Friday during the "very difficult" rescues.

"This weekend is set to be the latest marker in the record-breaking escalation of this ongoing humanitarian crisis at sea", Moas said. In 2017, the sea continues to be a graveyard.

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