88 Syrian migrants, who tried to reach Cyprus in two boats, have been sent back to Lebanon.
According to the Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, 5 men had jumped overboard. The Cyprus Police rescued 4 men. However, a fifth, who was wearing a mask, a life preserver and flippers managed to flee. Rescue crews are still looking for this individual.
Others among those rescued include a sick man and a pregnant woman. They were airlifted and later hospitalized.
The boats were originally detected by the coastal radar, and first intercepted by the marine police vessels with 48 men, 15 women and 25 minors on board – roughly 15 kilometers away from the coastline.
All of them were transferred to Lebanon under police escort on a chartered boat, under the agreement signed between Cyprus and Lebanon, which says that any person trying to reach Cyprus via boat shall be deported back to Lebanon.
Cyprus is situated at a distance of around a 230 kilometers west of Lebanon and around 170 kilometers west of Syria.