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750 migrants rescued from boats off Libyan coast—MSF

/ 06:21 PM September 19, 2015
 In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 file photo a  man jump on the sea from a dinghy full of migrants that suffered engine failure about 40 meters far from the coast  as they arrive from Turkey to Lesbos island, Greece. On a typical day, more than 20 dinghies and boats arrive here, packed with people who mostly cannot swim.  AP Photo

In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 file photo a man jump on the sea from a dinghy full of migrants that suffered engine failure about 40 meters far from the coast as they arrive from Turkey to Lesbos island, Greece. On a typical day, more than 20 dinghies and boats arrive here, packed with people who mostly cannot swim. AP Photo

At least 750 people were rescued Saturday from three small boats in international waters near the Libyan coast by a ship operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), a spokesman told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Over 750 people have been rescued since 5:00 am (0300 GMT),” Yazan al-Saadi, MSF’s regional communications officer said in Beirut.

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He said a fourth rescue operation by MSF’s Bourbon Argos search-and-rescue vessel was currently underway.

In videos sent to AFP by MSF, hundreds of people in brightly-colored clothes are sprawled out on the ship, some hugging and clapping.

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Children can be heard crying in the background.

“There are multiple nationalities… Thankfully, everyone is in good health,” said MSF spokesman Sami al-Subaihi, who is seen aboard the ship in the video.

“We are heading now towards the fourth boat, and we will see what the situation is like there,” Subaihi said.

The Bourbon Argos has 26 people on board, including medical specialists.

“Once rescued, MSF treats the refugees on the ship in case of any cases of dehydration or other medical issues,” Saadi told AFP.

“Then we take them to our centers either in Italy or Greece,” he added.

On Friday, 102 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean by Libyan authorities, and seven other bodies were recovered.

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Another 124 migrants were detained by Libyan coastguard officials Friday as they were preparing to cross to Europe.

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TAGS: Doctors Without Borders, Libya, migrants, Migration, refugee
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