Four-day-old baby was among over 480 migrants rescued by humanitarian ships drifting on a rubber boat 22 miles off the coast of Libya on Saturday during search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean Sea, reports Reuters.
The infant was travelling on one of two rubber boats carrying over 200 migrants from North and Central Africa, Sri Lanka and Yemen.
“A week ago, I collected a dead body from the Mediterranean for the first time, and (Saturday) I carried a new life,” Daniel Calvelo, the 26 year-old who transferred the baby from the raft into the rescue boat, told Reuters.
The baby’s mother, a 29-year old Nigerian woman, and her husband, a 34-year old worker from Ghana, were also rescued. They had lived in Libya for over two years and decided to leave for Europe after they had the baby.
“We want to go to France or Germany, there is a future for our family there,” Richard Ohene, the father, told Reuters.
The operation was carried out by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open arms and lasted three hours. Migrants were transferred into the former fishing trawler Golfo Azzurro, expected to reach the port of Sicily on Sunday afternoon.
Nearly 600 migrants have died so far this year trying to reach Italy from North Africa, the International Migration Organization (IOM) estimates. Some 4,600 people are thought to have died last year.