Four dead and three in acute danger of death after rescue operation
On Friday evening, a pregnant woman on board the rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 is fighting for her life. The head of mission has already asked the Italian Maritime Rescue Centre several times for an urgent medical evacuation. Each time, however, Italy referred to the Libyan Maritime Distress Control Centre and Italy’s telemedicine service.
The Libyan sea rescue coordination centre did not respond to the request for help even after several hours. The Italian telemedical service contacted came to the conclusion that a medical evacuation was necessary. However, the Italian emergency control centre in Rome continued to deny any responsibility and again referred to Libya.
In addition to the pregnant woman fighting for her life on board, two other people had fallen into the water during the rescue operation and were brought on board the rescue ship by the Sea-Eye crew. The persons had almost drowned, which means that there was already a lot of water in their lungs. The patients were immediately treated with pure oxygen. Among them is one pregnant women. The heart beat of her unborn child is no longer detectable, which has created a life-threatening situation for the mother and child.
“Italy is forcing us to deal with Libya, a failed state, instead of sending aid itself. A helicopter could reach the pregnant woman in acute danger of her life in less than an hour. Instead, Italy presents itself as a state that respects neither the life of a pregnant woman nor that of an unborn child. This is a medical, ethical and humanitarian scandal that should be brought before every court in the world,” said Jan Ribbeck, director of mission at Sea-Eye e. V..
Around 8 p.m., Italy finally instructed the SEA-EYE 4 to sail to Lampedusa itself to carry out medical evacuations.
“Instead of sending help themselves, Italy has been manoeuvring for hours about whether to send medical evacuations for people in acute danger of their lives. Finally, Italy is still forcing the survivors on an eight-hour crossing to Lampedusa. We demand that Italy immediately take all measures to protect the life of the pregnant woman on board the SEA-EYE 4 and send a helicopter for medical evacuation as soon as possible,” said Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V..
Italy also instructed the SEA-EYE 4 to proceed to the port of Vibo Valentia after the medical evacuation in Lampedusa to disembark the remaining people rescued.
Course of the rescue operation
On Friday morning, AlarmPhone reported a maritime emergency to the crew of the SEA-EYE 4, which the rescue ship reached a short time later. The so-called Libyan Coast Guard was already on site and the Sea-Eye crew documented that there were people in the water.
The so-called Libyan Coast Guard instructed the SEA-EYE 4 by radio to move away from the scene or they would be attacked. While the so-called Libyan Coast Guard was trying to get people out of the water, the rubber boat detached from the vessel. The people fled from the violent militia. During the escape attempt, some people fell into the water, whereupon the Sea-Eye crew deployed rescue equipment and a lifeboat. The crew managed to bring all the people on board.
However, three people were unconscious and near death. The crew also found four bodies in the rubber boat. Furthermore, people from the rubber boat are missing and it is not clear whether they were brought back by the so-called Libyan coast guard or drowned during their operation.