24 migrants rescued off Cyprus

24 migrants rescued off Cyprus

Nicosia: Cyprus rescued 24 migrants from a fishing boat intercepted off the Mediterranean island’s west coast near Paphos today, officials said.

Authorities said two coastguard patrol vessels answered a distress call from a fishing boat carrying 15 men, six women and three children 14 nautical miles offshore.

An official at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) confirmed there was an operation to bring the migrants safely to shore.

A statement said those aboard the small fishing boat had been in danger.

The nationalities of the migrants and their intended destination were not immediately clear.

EU member Cyprus lies just 100 kilometres (60 miles) off the Syrian coast but has so far avoided a mass influx of refugees from the conflict such as that experienced by other European nations.

Last October 115 migrants from the Middle East landed at a British military base on Cyprus and asked for asylum.

The 29 children, 19 women and 67 men landed at the Akrotiri Royal Air Force Base in two fishing boats and were later moved to Dhekelia, the largest of Britain’s two military bases on the island.