Rescue underway of 300 Syrians on boat near Cyprus

2014-09-25 20:33
A large fishing trawler overloaded with people in the Mediterranean Sea. (Cyprus Defence Ministry, AFP)

A large fishing trawler overloaded with people in the Mediterranean Sea. (Cyprus Defence Ministry, AFP)

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Athens - A rescue operation was underway on Thursday after 300 migrants from Syria were located in a fishing vessel south of Cyprus, the defence ministry said.

Two helicopters and two coast guard vessels were immediately dispatched to the area, approximately 55 nautical miles south of the coastal town of Pafos, after the migrants sent out a distress signal, a ministry official told dpa.

A cruise ship packed with tourists that was in area also decided to take part in the rescue operation.

"The vessel was heading from Syria. We are trying to bring everyone safely to shore but the conditions are very bad in the area, and rescue crews are battling strong winds and rough seas", the ministry official said.

There are a large number of women and children on the boat, officials said, and they will be taken to a hospital in Limassol.

Italy, Spain, Greece and Cyprus are major entry points to the European Union for migrants from Asia and Africa.

Read more on:    syria  |  greece  |  maritime

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