A six-month-old baby died hours after being plucked from the Mediterranean, Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish refugee rescue charity, said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the baby boy from Guinea, Joseph, was among 111 survivors taken in by Open Arms after it sent rescue units to a rubber dinghy sinking off the coast of Libya.
“Joseph ‘s mother can be seen slipping across a boat in the video footage of the rescue operation as it rolls on the waves, shouting:” Where is my baby? I’m losing my boy. Find my kid, find my girl! Five bodies were recovered in operation.
The death of Joseph took the overall death toll from the shipwreck to six.
The Italian coast guard evacuated Joseph and his mother, plus a pregnant woman, and took them to the island of Lampedusa, an Open Arms spokeswoman said.
Three more survivors were airlifted to Malta in urgent need of medical care-a a three-month-old baby girl, her mother, and a 25-year-old man with extreme heart trouble.
They were taken there because the closest hospital was offered by Malta, the Italian coast guard said in a separate statement, noting that the transfer was assisted by Maltese authorities.
After three separate operations between Tuesday and Wednesday, the Open Arms, currently, the only operational charity rescue vessel in the central Mediterranean, has 257 refugees on board.
There are still five bodies still on the ship, Open Arms said on Twitter.
“The organization said,” The Med is a graveyard with no gravestones.
Small boats carrying refugees and migrants have been leaving Libya and Tunisia for months, usually attempting to enter Italy.
According to data from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the country has reported nearly 31,000 refugee arrivals so far in 2020, compared to nearly 10,000 in the same timeframe last year.
So far this year, according to data from the International Organization for Migration ( IOM), at least 796 people have died while attempting to enter Europe through the Mediterranean.