Madrid, May 27 (AFP) Spain’s maritime rescue service said today it had rescued 408 migrants who were attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from north Africa this weekend. Also Read - 'Scary, Yet Beautiful: Spectacular Videos Capture The Moment Italy's Mount Etna Erupts & Shoots Lava Into The Sky | Watch

The service said its rescue boats intercepted 115 migrants travelling in five small boats in the Strait of Gibraltar today, a day after it pulled 293 migrants from nine vessels. Also Read - International Flights: Air India Closes 5 Stations in Europe Over Losses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The maritime service is tracking three other boats carrying “a significant number of migrants” in the Alboran Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar, a maritime rescue service spokesman told AFP. Also Read - Earth's Eighth Continent? 2020 Brings New Surprise as Maps of 'Zealandia' Released in Latest Data

Spain is the third busiest gateway for migrants arriving in Europe, still far behind Italy but catching up fast with Greece.

Many Africans undertaking the long route to Europe are choosing to avoid crossing danger-ridden Libya to get to Italy along the so-called central Mediterranean route, choosing instead to get there via Morocco and Spain.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, more than 22,400 people arrived in Spain by sea last year, nearly triple the number for 2016. Some 223 people died along the way. (AFP) KUN KUN

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.