NINE pateras carrying at least 79 immigrants reached the Costa Blanca in barely 48 hours.
A first boat was found empty on Cap Negret beach in Altea and another at Calpe’s Cala Les Urques. Judging by their size each had probably brought in between eight and 12 people, the Guardia Civil said.
Seven of the immigrants were arrested an hour after the discovery when the Guardia Civil in Altea intercepted a Benidorm-bound bus. All were Algerian males claiming to Syrian asylum-seekers and two, who said they were 16 and 17, were due to be x-rayed to establish their true ages.
Salvamento Maritimo later went to the aid of 32 people in two boats located 83 kilometres off the coast and put them ashore in Alicante City.
Thirteen people aboard another boat were found that same evening, 37 kilometres off Torrevieja and taken to Cartagena.
Boats continued to arrive next day when the Guardia Civil detained two Algerians and three Moroccans in Campello who were walking along the N-332 in wet clothes. Their boat was later found on the beach near Barranco de Aguas.
Salvamento Maritimo located two more boats that were spotted 74 kilometres from the coast earlier in the day and towed them into Alicante City port. The 22 people aboard were mostly Algerian and included a minor aged 17. They told their rescuers that there had been a third boat but this changed course following an argument amongst those on board.