Sixty migrants were rescued from a small boat off Cyprus on Wednesday after being stranded at sea for days, the country’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) said Wednesday.
The group included three children and an adult who were found unconscious and had to be taken to hospital where they were treated for dehydration and hypothermia, the Cypriot authorities said.
All other people on board, including three who had leg fractures, were also taken to hospital in a massive operation that lasted from early morning until the afternoon.
The JRCC sent out patrol boats and helicopters after a merchant ship reported spotting a crammed wooden boat at 4:30 a.m. (local time), some 30 nautical miles (55.6 km) off the southeastern coast of Cyprus.
Cypriot authorities said that according to information obtained from some of the migrants, the boat had been at sea for seven days.
The incident “is proof of what we have repeatedly said about the dangers faced by people falling victim to human traffickers,” Cyprus’ Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said in a written statement.
He also said he will raise the issue on Thursday at an informal meeting of European Union (EU) interior ministers in Brussels.
There has been an increase in the arrival of migrant boats in Cyprus in recent weeks, including an incident on Sunday in which 190 people were rescued from three small boats.