AFM’s P61 has recovered 150 persons in search and rescue incident
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Update 2: The Armed Forces of Malta P61 Patrol Boat is due into Hay Wharf at around 7.30am this Saturday morning, carrying 150 survivors.
Italian news agencies are also reporting this morning that as many as 50 migrants were lost including 10 children when their boat capsized yesterday.
The Armed Forces of Malta Rescue Coordination Centre yesterday assumed coordination of a major Search and Rescue incident 60 nautical miles south of Lampedusa Island.
The said boat was being following by the Rescue centre and located by AFM aircraft at 1600hrs.
Currently on scene are the AFM Offshore Patrol Vessel P61, the Italian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel ITS Libra and a number of helicopters from Malta and Lampedusa.
The AFM said that it is confirmed that the ITS Libra has recovered at 56 survivors including 39 males, 8 females and 9 infants/children. P61 has recovered 150 persons including 113 males, 20 females and 17 children. At least 4 deceased persons have also been recovered. A significant number of the survivors were rescued from a life raft deployed by an AFM B200 aircraft immediately after the capsize of the craft.
The more critical cases aboard P61 are currently being evacuated by helicopter to medical facilities in Lampedusa.
Initial reports earlier this afternoon were that the craft, although underway towards Lampedusa, appeared unstable. A few minutes later, the aircraft reported that the boat had capsized and that numerous persons were in the water. Initial assistance was provided by the aircraft which dropped a life-raft in close proximity of the persons in distress.
AFM Patrol Boat P61 was first to arrive on scene at around 1751hrs and immediately initiated SAR activities. It was joined shortly afterwards by the Italian patrol vessel ITS Libra.
The Malta Police said that they are expecting the migrants to land in Malta during the night.
The Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat has said this evening that 27 people have died and that Mater Dei hospital has been put on full allert, to provide assistance as required.
Photographs – AFM Press Office.