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115 immigrants rescued off Malta


Valletta (Malta): A total of 115 would-be illegal immigrants were being taken to Malta Saturday after being rescued from a sinking dinghy, officials said.

The drifting vessel was first reported by a fisherman and three Maltese patrol boats were sent to the scene some 20 miles south of the Mediterranean island.

According to initial reports, the group was composed of 81 men and 34 women. They were claiming to be Somali and had left from Libya. Some of those on board were seasick, according to officials.

It was the first arrival of African immigrants to Malta in three weeks after a sudden decline in human trafficking in the Mediterranean.

Another boat, carrying 84 migrants, was spotted 90 miles off Malta earlier in the week but returned to Libya after being intercepted by the Italian Navy. A baby born on the boat was airlifted to Malta with its mother.