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Syrian who set out solo from Libya in tiny boat is rescued

In this photo taken on Dec. 1, and made available on Dec. 4, 2017, a Syrian refugee is spotted in his 10-foot long rubber boat some 25 miles off Libya's coast by the NGO rescue boat of Proactiva Open Arms. (Associated Press)
In this photo taken on Dec. 1, and made available on Dec. 4, 2017, a Syrian refugee is spotted in his 10-foot long rubber boat some 25 miles off Libya's coast by the NGO rescue boat of Proactiva Open Arms. (Associated Press)

ROME – A Syrian refugee has been saved at sea after setting out solo in a tiny boat from Libya, where he told rescuers he was practically a slave.

The 30-year-old man told rescuers aboard the rescue boat of Proactiva Open Arms that he worked as a nurse in Libya for three years after fleeing Syria’s war and feared for his life.

Riccardo Gatti, chief of mission aboard the NGO rescue ship, told The Associated Press by phone Monday that the ship, about 25 miles off Libya’s coast, was about to head to Malta to change crew amid worsening weather, when a crew member, using binoculars, spotted the 10-foot dinghy Friday.

He said the man recounted that he had left 20 hours earlier from an isolated Libya beach.


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