AFM continue search for missing tourists – 3 bodies found
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Update 2: The Armed Forces of Malta said that a third deceased person, identified as a male adult, has been found during this morning’s search efforts in the South Comino Channel.
A search for the remaining two individuals is continuing.
Yesterday the AFM said that at 16.42pm this afternoon its Operations Centre received information that two bodies and a capsized boat were sighted at Fomm ir-Rih bay. An Italian Military Mission helicopter engaged in the search for 5 persons reported missing yesterday was directed to the scene where it arrived at 1700hrs and confirmed the sighting.
The helicopter crew recovered the two bodies which were identified to be those of two deceased females.
This finding is in all likelihood associated with the case of 5 persons reported missing late yesterday afternoon from aboard a yacht anchored off Gozo. Further searches are being mounted to locate any further potential survivors or victims. Search efforts thus far have yielded limited results with a life jacket having been located but no further persons.
The AFM said earlier that throughout the day, the Armed Forces of Malta have continued with search efforts to locate the five persons reported missing yesterday afternoon. The search has been somewhat hampered by heavy sea conditions including up to 35 knots of wind. Assets assigned to the operation include the AFM’s King Air Maritime Patrol Aircraft as well as an Alouette III helicopter which conducted thorough searches in the area South and South West of the Maltese Islands.
Covering a total of 1000 square nautical miles the AFM’s search efforts were complemented by further deployments of the Italian Military Mission Helicopter (AB212). With a view to generating the maximum search effort possible during daylight hours, RCC Malta has requested the participation of a P3 Orion Aircraft from the US Navy 6th Fleet stationed in Sicily and an Italian Coast Guard P166 Aircraft based out of Catania Airport. Both these aircraft are currently conducting search flights under the command of the AFM’s Rescue Coordination Centre in Luqa.
No significant sightings have been reported by any of the assets involved in search efforts nor by any other shipping in the area.
Photograph – Archive AFM/ Press Office.