Spain saves over 350 migrants crossing Mediterranean

MADRID (AP) — Spain's maritime rescue service says it has saved over 350 migrants attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea.

The service says it pulled 359 people from seven small boats its rescue craft intercepted in waters between Spain and the coast of northern Africa on Saturday.

Spain has seen a rise in illegal immigration this year following a crackdown by countries in the eastern Mediterranean.

The International Organization for Migration said this week that over 45,000 men, women and children have entered Spain through the western Mediterranean route in 2018.

Packed into small boats by human trafficking gangs, the migrants often risk death because the boats are prone to sinking. The United Nations says over 1,960 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean.