Immigrant Rescued At Sea After 48 Hours Holding On Piece Of Wood
19 July 2018
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A Spanish NGO that saved a woman off Libya who was drifting on a deflated dinghy next to the bodies of a boy and another woman said Wednesday it is taking her to Spain for her safety.

Her name is Josephine, a Cameroonian national. The 40-Year-old mother is the only survivor of a group of migrants whose boat sank on Monday to the wide of Libya.

Josephine had her life saved by staying hung for 48 hours on a piece of wood, with the bodies of a kid and that of another woman next door.

Proactiva Open Arms, whose two ships sail back and forth in the Mediterranean to rescue migrants in distress, said it had decided to return a day after saving the 40-year-old woman from Cameroon.

In a statement explaining the decision to go back to Spain, the NGO said authorities in Italy had offered to take in the woman but not the two bodies.

Proactiva added it feared “for the protection of the surviving woman and her complete freedom to testify” on what had happened at sea if they left her in Italy, which has taken a hardline stance towards migrant arrivals.

Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini doubted their reasons, tweeting: “Could it be because they have something to hide?”

Earlier he denounced “lies and insults (that) confirm that we are doing the right thing: reducing departures and landings means reducing deaths, and reducing the profits of those who speculate on illegal immigration.”

Proactiva accuses Libyan coastguards of having saved the rest of the migrants on board the dinghy but not the two women and the child, whom they say refused to board the rescue vessel and go back to Libya.

The NGO alleges that as a result, the coastguards left them and deflated the dinghy. Rescuers let air out of migrants boats to stop them from being re-used and this boat had been slashed with a knife.

Libyan coastguards denied Proactiva’s accusations and said they rescued 165 migrants from a boat in the same area on Monday night, without leaving anyone on board.

They also pointed out a lack of resources, particularly for night operations.

“Coastguards save and protect lives… It is inconceivable for us to abandon people on the high seas when we have just gone to rescue them,” the navy said in a statement.