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Migrant Boat Catches Fire Off the Spanish Coast, Forcing Dramatic Sea Rescue

Portuguese and Spanish rescue services have saved 34 migrants who leaped into the sea after their inflatable craft caught fire

34 migrants were dramatically rescued after their boat burst into flames off the Spanish coast
34 migrants were dramatically rescued after their boat burst into flames off the Spanish coast, May 29, 2017Credit: Screen grab

Portuguese and Spanish rescue services have saved 34 migrants who leaped into the sea after their inflatable craft caught fire in the Mediterranean.

Video shot by a Portuguese Air Force plane shows the migrants wearing orange life vests jumping from the black dinghy after flames erupted near the craft’s outboard motor. The fire quickly spread and left burning debris on the water. Some migrants clung to what was left of the rubber craft.

A Portuguese Air Force statement says there was no obvious reason for the fire off the Spanish coast Sunday.

The plane coordinated a rescue effort, dropping a life raft into the sea and calling a nearby fishing vessel. Monday’s statement said two Spanish coast guard vessels also picked up the unhurt migrants. Migrant crossings across the Mediteranean have been frequent in past years and often resulted in great tragedy as rescue efforts can be hampered by distance and weather.

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