Sixty migrants were rescued from a small boat off Cyprus on Wednesday, including three children and a man who were found unconscious on board, Cypriot authorities said.
Authorities scrambled rescue helicopters and patrol vessels after a merchant vessel reported seeing a small wooden fishing boat about 30 nautical miles off Cape Greco, Cyprus’ most southeasterly point.
Cyprus’ Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said all the migrants were taken to hospital, including the four found unconscious and three who had lower limb fractures.
Authorities said early indications suggested the boat had sailed from Lebanon on Jan. 18.
Alarm Phone, an advocacy group which issues alerts for migrants in distress, had reported on Sunday that concerned relatives had contacted them on losing contact with a vessel carrying between 50-60 people and which had left Lebanon on Jan. 18.
It was not immediately clear if it was the same boat.
Cyprus lies about 100 miles (185 km) west of Lebanon and Syria. In recent months it has seen arrivals increase from both countries, fanning concerns in Nicosia of a surge of migration if the tensions in the Middle East engulf the broader region.
In calm seas, it can take a small fishing boat 18-20 hours to get from Lebanon to Cyprus, crossing waters that can run up to 3 km deep and in conditions known for changeable winds and sudden swells.