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Spain: 2 boys reported missing during rescue of 69 migrants

December 23, 2018
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In this Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, photo, migrants react in a rubber dinghy after Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO, spotted and rescued them in the Central Mediterranean Sea at 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Al Khums, Lybia. The Spanish NGO Open Arms have rescued about 300 migrants from 3 boats crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe on Friday. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s response to mass migration (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

Spain’s maritime rescue service says two children were reported missing at sea when 69 migrants were taken from a rubber dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea.

The service says people on the boat told a rescue crew the boys hadn’t been seen for several hours and were presumed dead.

The Spanish crew responded Sunday after a fishing boat reported spotting a partially deflated rubber boat and some of its passengers in the water. The service says the fishing boat’s crew saved some of the migrants before the rescue vessel arrived.

On Thursday, 12 migrants died while trying to make the dangerous sea crossing from African shores to Spain.

The United Nations says more than 2,200 migrants and refugees have perished in 2018 on the Mediterranean Sea, which also is conduit for reaching Greece and Italy.

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6:10 p.m.

French maritime authorities have seized 16 migrants, including two children, from a fishing boat that allegedly was taking the passengers across the English Channel to Britain.

The regional maritime authority, or prefecture, said in a statement that the boat didn’t have its navigation lights on or respond to communication attempts when it was spotted before dawn off the coast of Boulogne-sur-mer on Sunday.

The prefecture sent a tugboat to investigate and to offer assistance. It said the tug’s crew found the migrants aboard and brought them back to France. The authority had no details about the migrants’ origins.

The statement warned of the high risk of vessel collisions in the busy shipping route.

A growing number of migrants have been trying to reach Britain by boat in recent weeks.

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