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Spanish NGO boat rescues 420 migrants close to Libyan coast

Associated Press logo Associated Press 15/06/2017
Women and children wait their turn to get on onboard the rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after being rescued from a wooden boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean Sea, about 18 miles north of Sabratha, Libya on Thursday, June 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) © The Associated Press Women and children wait their turn to get on onboard the rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after being rescued from a wooden boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean Sea, about 18 miles north of Sabratha, Libya on Thursday, June 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

MADRID — A Spanish aid organization has rescued 420 migrants attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in packed smugglers' boats from Libya.

Laura Lanuza, spokeswoman for Spain's Proactiva Open Arms aid group, said its crews on Thursday rescued most of the migrants from two packed rubber dinghies and a wooden boat that were sailing in international waters 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of the Libyan coastal town of Sabratha. Each boat had over 130 migrants aboard.

In a separate operation, she said 11 people, including a 2-month-old baby with asthma, were rescued from a wooden boat.

Libya is one of the prime spots for smugglers to launch boats — many unseaworthy — packed with migrants and refugees desperate to reach Europe. At least 1,808 have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean.

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