SEA-EYE 4 crew rescues 57 people. Two people did not survive the flight.

On Tuesday afternoon, Alarmphone informed the relevant authorities and the rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 of an emergency at sea. A boat with 59 people called for help in the Maltese search and rescue zone. The crew of the SEA-EYE 4 was able to find the boat on Tuesday evening after a five-hour search at around 7 pm.

It was an overcrowded, two-storey wooden boat. The initial assessment by the crew of the MOCHARA lifeboat revealed that four people were unconscious below deck. In order for the rescue crew to reach them, the people on the upper deck had to be evacuated first. In the end, two people could only be rescued dead.

As the state of health of other people deteriorated drastically, the head of operations, Julie Schweickert, asked the rescue control centres in Rome and Valletta to evacuate four survivors. The seriously injured people showed symptoms of severe fuel poisoning. The victims, who had been below deck on the boat, were unable to escape the toxic fuel vapours and had lost consciousness as a result. The joint medical team from German Doctors e.V. and Sea-Eye e.V. was unable to determine a clear cause of death for the two deceased persons.

We in the medical team are very sad that two people did not survive the flight. After the urgent evacuation of one patient by helicopter to Malta, we worked intensively all night in the on-board hospital to stabilise the condition of three other seriously injured patients. We are pleased that we were able to do so until the evacuation of the three people in the morning hours on Lampedusa,” says Dr Gerd Klausen, on-board doctor on the SEA-EYE 4 for German Doctors e.V.

The Maltese armed forces evacuated a seriously injured person by helicopter at around 2 a.m. on Wednesday night. The SEA-EYE 4 then followed an Italian coastguard ship to Lampedusa to evacuate three more emergency patients.

Our operational year started with a very tragic rescue mission. It is important to realise how cruel it is to be trapped below deck and exposed to toxic fumes. The rescue of the survivors and the prompt evacuation of the seriously injured patients saved the lives of most of the people on board. We are incredibly saddened by the loss of two lives for whom all help came too late. Our thoughts are with their families,” says Jan Ribbeck, Head of Search and Rescue operations at Sea-Eye e.V.

The Italian authorities have assigned the SEA-EYE 4 to the Sicilian port of Porto Empedocle to disembark the remaining 53 survivors and two fatalities on board. The SEA-EYE 4 is expected to reach Porto Empedocle at around 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Municipalities and cities support Sea-Eye

On Friday morning (23.02.2024), the rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 departed from the Spanish port of Burriana on its first mission of the year. The ship has completed a regular maintenance interval there in recent weeks.

The first mission is supported by a municipal grant of €20,000 from the city of Osnabrück. Meanwhile, the city of Mannheim extended its municipal sponsorship of the SEA-EYE 4 and doubled the amount of funding from €5,000 to €10,000 per year. The city of Bern decided to support the Regensburg-based sea rescue organization Sea-Eye e.V. with 70,000 Swiss francs this year. Bern is thus the first city outside Germany to decide to sponsor a Sea-Eye ship and will hold an event in Bern on 27.02.2024.

The support from the municipalities gives us great backing. We are very grateful for this. The municipal sponsorship is a concrete way out of an ongoing solidarity crisis. The municipalities make it clear that our humanitarian work continues to be supported by a broad social alliance,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e.V.

The municipal funding contrasts with a law passed by the federal government in January. Experts recently explicitly warned that the Repatriation Improvement Act could criminalize and prosecute the rescue of unaccompanied children. Sea-Eye therefore wrote to the Federal Minister of Justice and the Federal Minister of the Interior this Wednesday asking for legal clarification.

The organizations Sea-Eye e.V. from Regensburg and German Doctors e.V. from Bonn have decided to continue their cooperation this year. This marks the fourth year of cooperation between the two organizations. “On the first mission of the SEA-EYE 4 this year, our German Doctor Gerd Klausen will work with colleagues from the medical crew on board to ensure the health of those rescued in the Mediterranean. We are delighted to have Gerd Klausen on board, a very experienced doctor who is involved in sea rescue on a voluntary basis and who is doing such a valuable job for the people,” says Dr. Harald Kischlat, Chairman of German Doctors e.V.

The SEA-EYE 4 is expected to reach its operational area in the middle of next week.