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Citizen rescue service saves 500 as weather aids traffickers

07 May 2015 | by Hannah Roberts in Rome
 
A Catholic couple, who launched a citizen rescue service in the Mediterranean inspired by Pope Francis, saved almost 500 refugees, as traffickers took advantage of good weather to send thousands across the sea.Almost 6,000 refugees were rescued during crossings over last weekend, but around 40 were reported drowned when their inflatable boat sank on Tuesday. The 120 ft Phoenix, launched by Malta-based millionaires Regina and Chris Catrambone last year, was docked over the winter as the couple sought to raise funds, but returned to the sea on Saturday after a partnership with charity Médecins sans Frontières was established. The privately owned vessel, equipped with a crew of 20 including doctors and rescue professionals, as well as drones, brought 369 refugees back to shore




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