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2,000 people rescued in the Central Mediterranean

24 June 2016

"This morning at 3:30 (23 June) the Bourbon Argos Search and Rescue team received a phone call from MRCC in Rome, telling us about several boats in distress. Within a few minutes later our teams had already seen the first boats on the radar and we quickly deployed the rescue RIHBs.

One of the dinghies was coming directly to us, full of people in a complete state of panic. They literally jumped onto us and we had to pull people from the water. When they reached our vessel, they started to climb and fight in terror,” said Sebastien Stein, Field Coordinator of the Bourbon Argos.  

A few hours later, the other two MSF teams onboard the Dignity I and the Aquarius rescued additional 257 and 639 people each, making the total rescued by MSF's teams in the Mediterranean 2028 in less than 36 hours. Among them there were many women and the children, with the youngest no older than two weeks.  

“We have never seen so many people crammed on the Bourbon Argos,” continued Stein. “We had some scaring and dramatic moments this morning, things could have easily gone in a different way but thankfully everybody made it on board safely.”