Spain rescues 549 migrants from boats in Mediterranean
By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: January 6, 2019
MADRID — Spain's maritime rescue service says it saved 549 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
The service says its craft intercepted six small boats carrying a total of 350 migrants on Saturday in waters east of the Strait of Gibraltar.
On Sunday another 199 migrants were pulled from five different boats, including two tiny inflatable boats meant for small bodies of water or near the beach. One of those tiny recreational boats was carrying four children. The other was packed with 10 adults.
The United Nations refugee agency estimates that 2,262 migrants died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2018.
The European Union's border agency says that 57,000 illegal immigrants reached Spain last year, double the figure for 2017. Overall, unauthorized border crossings into Europe hit a five-year low.