A PLANE operated by the Spanish Guardia Civil managed to locate a boat with a total of 214 immigrants on board earlier this month, it has emerged.
The incident occurred on Sunday April 17, when Malta Search and Rescue requested a plane to search for a boat with an unknown number of passengers, which was thought to have been in danger.
The Spanish crew departed from the Sigonella air base in Italy, and were able to pinpoint the vessel following a short sweep of the area, around 250 nautical miles east of Sicily.
Italian authorities were contacted and a French customs boat was dispatched to intercept the boat and rescue the stricken passengers.
Among the 106 men, 43 women and 65 children were 8 people suffering from minor injuries, and one diabetic who required insulin.
The international effort formed part of Operation Triton, an exercise coordinated by Frontex, the European agency established in 2004 to detect and prevent illegal immigration, human trafficking and terrorism.