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Information published by the Armed Forces of Malta Press Releases:

Press-Media & Public Information Office
Armed Forces of Malta
Luqa Barracks
Luqa VLT-2000
Malta Tel.: +356-22494020
Fax.:+356-21241001 (office hrs) & +356-21809860 (all hrs)



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24 July 2010

A number of swimmers and sportsmen found themselves in difficulty whilst out at sea earlier today, and had to be rescued by an Armed Forces of Malta air-rescue helicopter when the alarm was raised.
Early in the afternoon, at around 14:39 hrs, a report was received by the AFM's Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCCMalta) from the Marsalforn Police in Gozo that a windsurferwas in some difficulty between Qbajjar Bay and Marsalforn Bay. By the time an AFM Air Wing reached the scene, the windsurfer had luckily made safe to land. It was during this rescue sortie was underway, that another call was received by RCC Malta that a kitesurfer was missing and overdue between Cirkewwa and Mgarr, Gozo.
Fortunately, the Air Wing's Alouette rescue-helicopter was purposely diverted to the area, and located the missing windsurfer, Keith Balzan, who was winch-hoisted onboard and conveyed to a drop-off point near Torri l-Abjad.
Later in the afternoon, the Sliema Waterpolo Pitch's management reported to RCC Malta that another two swimmers were also in difficulty whilst swimming some 300 metres from the waterpolo club. This time, the AFM Maritime Squadron's Vittoria-class rescue-launch Melita-1 was dispatched and spotted the two swimmers using a flotation device off Tigne Point. An Air Wing Alouette helicopter was alos scrambled into the air to provide assistance as required.
The two swimmers made it safely to shore along the Tigne coastline's construction works in progress. A Police mobile unit dispatched to the area could not trace the swimmers, two boys, once they arrived on location to investigate.


  Health-Related: Leisure


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18 July 2010



Whilst AFM assets were rendering assistance to illegal immigrants in distress to the south-east of Malta yesterday, another emergency scenario developed off the Munxar fish-farm during the night, in a position approximately half a nautical mile from the area known as “il-Hoffiret”. This was when a family of four, made up of three males and a child, accidentally hit the fish-farm’s apparatus out at sea.

The cabin-cruiser “Zgicca” immediately put out a Mayday call of distress on its VHF maritime band radio, which call was intercepted by the AFM’s coast radio station. Two AFM Maritime Squadron assets, the Austal-class inshore patrol boat (IPB)  “P-24” and the Vittoria-class rescue-launch “MELITA-2”, were immediately dispatched to the location of the accident. Once on site, they found the 30-foot cabin cruiser taking in water fast, and so transferred its four occupants onto “P-24”.

The uninjured party of four were safely landed at the Maritime Squadron’s base in Haywharf, Floriana earlier this morning.

Picture Credits to SAR-Launch Melita-2 crew/AFM Maritime Squadron

  Rescue at Sea


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18 July 2010



The Armed Forces of Malta’s Maritime Squadron earlier this morning landed  28 of illegal immigrants it rescued off the high seas of the Mediterranean late last night, in position to the south-east of Malta. 

It was yesterday morning, when the AFM’s Rescue and Co-ordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks was alerted that a boat containing illegal immigrants was on the high seas and taking in water as it was proceeding northwards on its journey.

RCC Malta immediately activated its AFM Air Wing and Maritime Squadron assets.

In the meantime, RCC Malta successfully managed to get in touch with the illegal immigrants in distress onboard their boat, in an effort to initially assess their situation. By yesterday afternoon, the AFM Air Wing Islander’s search located the illegal migrants who were on a large rubber dinghy. As P-52 continued to proceed to the rubber dinghy’s location, RCC Malta kept close contact and liaison with its adjacent regions’ Search-and-Rescue authorities in Italy and Libya.

Concurrent to these rescue efforts, Libyan authorities also dispatched a launch to assist the illegal immigrants. Subsequently, both P-52 and the Libyan rescue-launch reached the rubber-dinghy in distress. The Maritime Squadron personnel provided aid to the illegal immigrants. Subsequently, 22 men, 5 females and one baby were transferred onboard patrol-vessel P-52. The remaining 27 migrants were taken onboard the Libyan vessel.

Go to Frontex Watch Page


  Illegal Immigration


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18 July 2010



A 32-year old boater from Marsascala was yesterday urgently medically evacuated by an AFM Alouette rescue-helicopter, when he developed severe stomach pains when out at sea with a friend on their 16-foot boat.

Charlot Magro was on a local boat trip in a position just off Wied iz-Zurrieq, heading towards Marsaxlokk when he felt excruciating pains in his stomach, that sent pain up through his chest and numbing his lips.

The Armed forces of Malta’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks received the two boaters distress call at around 3 p.m., and the AFM’s Vittoria-class Search-and-Rescue launch “Meliat-2” was immediately dispatched to the scene to render assistance as required. In the meantime, an Air Wing Alouette rescue-helicopter was scrambled into the air, and both AFM rescue assets met the boaters in a position just off Wied ix-Xaqqa’s bay.

An Air Wing rescue-swimmer was dropped into the water to the aid of the ailing boater, who was first transferred onto the Melita-2 rescue-launch, and subsequently winch-hoisted onboard the AFM Alouette helicopter, which conveyed him to Mater Dei Hospital for further treatment.

Picture Credit: SAR-launch MELITA-2 crew/ AFM Maritime Squadron

Picture Credit: SAR-launch MELITA-2 crew/ AFM Maritime Squadron

  Rescue at Sea


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12 July 2010


MID-SEA COLLISION, an 81 year-old man dies after a boating accident off Tigne'

Earlier today, an 81-year old man from Sliema died from a cardiac arrest following a boating collision with a locally-registered yacht, just a quarter of a mile off Tigne’ Point, in Sliema.

The Armed Forces of Malta’s Operations’ Centre was alerted to a ‘mayday’ distress call on VHF-marine radio, which reported the occurrence and that the elderly boatman had been thrown overboard with the collision’s impact in the water.  Immediately, the AFM Maritime Squadron’s Vittoria-class fast Search-and-Rescue (SAR) launch, the “Melita-2”, was soon dispatched to the spot, and recovered the man who had been earlier onboard his small boat (fregatina).

He was conveyed to an awaiting ambulance at the Haywharf Base in Floriana, and taken to Mater Dei Hospital where he died soon after his arrival at around 10.57hrs.

Investigations are underway and are led by Police Inspector M. Micallef-Grimaud, whereas the two yachtsmen and the “Oyster 53”-class yacht that collided with the elderly boatman’s vessel have been released from Haywharf Base by the Court expert appointed by duty Magistrate, Edwina Grima.

The crushed vessel of the elderly boatman sank on the scene, and AFM divers from 3 Regt have been on location to help the Magisterial Inquiry identify its whereabouts.


  Sea Collision: Fatal