Baby, six months, dies hours after being saved from Mediterranean

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Members of the Spanish NGO Maydayterraneo sail back to the Aita Mari rescue boat during a rescue of about 90 migrants in the Mediterranean open sea off the Libyan coast.
Members of the Spanish NGO Maydayterraneo sail back to the Aita Mari rescue boat during a rescue of about 90 migrants in the Mediterranean open sea off the Libyan coast.
PABLO GARCIA / AFP
  • A six-month-old baby died hours after he was plucked from the Mediterranean.
  • The baby boy from Guinea, Joseph, was among 111 survivors taken in by Open Arms on Wednesday after it sent rescue units to a rubber dinghy that was sinking.
  • Joseph’s death brought the total death toll from the shipwreck to six.


A six-month-old baby died hours after he was plucked from the Mediterranean, Spanish refugee rescue charity Open Arms said on Thursday.

The baby boy from Guinea, Joseph, was among 111 survivors taken in by Open Arms on Wednesday after it sent rescue units to a rubber dinghy that was sinking off the Libyan coast.

In the operation, five bodies were also recovered.

Joseph’s death brought the total death toll from the shipwreck to six.

Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, tweeted: "Every life matters. It could have been our [baby]."

Joseph and his mother, plus a pregnant woman, were evacuated by the Italian coast guard and taken to Lampedusa island, an Open Arms spokesperson said.

Three more survivors in urgent need of medical care – a three-month-old baby girl, her mother and a 25-year-old man with serious heart trouble – were airlifted to Malta.

They were taken there because Malta offered the nearest hospital, the Italian coast guard said in a separate statement, noting that Maltese authorities helped with the transfer.

The Open Arms, currently the only active charity rescue vessel in the central Mediterranean, has 257 refugees on board, after three separate operations between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Five bodies are also still on the ship, Open Arms said on Twitter.

"The Med is a cemetery with no gravestones," the organisation said.

For months, small boats carrying refugees and migrants have been departing from Libya and Tunisia, usually trying to reach Italy.

According to Italian interior ministry data, the country has registered almost 31 000 refugee arrivals in 2020 so far, compared with almost 10 000 over the same period last year.

So far this year, at least 796 people have died while trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, according to data from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When planning for the Black Friday sales do you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Save, research and plan ahead, preparing to make the most of it?
8% - 957 votes
Wait and see what looks like a good deal on the day?
14% - 1799 votes
Have no interest in spending more money this year?
78% - 9908 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.12
(+0.36)
ZAR/GBP
20.24
(+0.23)
ZAR/EUR
18.02
(+0.24)
ZAR/AUD
11.14
(+0.40)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(+0.35)
Gold
1806.39
(-0.14)
Silver
23.32
(+0.29)
Platinum
965.00
(+0.83)
Brent Crude
47.84
(+3.78)
Palladium
2323.00
(-0.13)
All Share
57742.19
(-0.03)
Top 40
52940.79
(-0.20)
Financial 15
11641.10
(-0.29)
Industrial 25
79835.50
(-0.36)
Resource 10
52605.42
(+0.07)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo