By Nathan Morley
The terrifying ordeal of those on board finally came to an end 33-hours after the distress call had been issued.
On Sunday, the NGO Alarm Phone posted an alert warning people were in serious risk of drowning near Maltese waters, with some passengers reportedly jumping into the sea as the rubber dinghy filled up with water.
Alarm Phone said those on board could not bail out the inflatable because it was too overcrowded.
Remarkably the vessel – drifting of the Libyan coast - remained afloat before Malta’s military rescued all on board on Monday afternoon.
The passengers – mostly from Eritrea - were taken to an army facility near Valletta, the capital of Malta.
Although Malta closed its ports to asylum seekers in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, recent weeks have seen an up-tick in Mediterranean crossings due to the warm weather and calm seas.
Activists have complained about the lack of independent rescue ships in the central Mediterranean, which is one of the world’s most treacherous passages.