Cyprus launches rescue operation for 300 immigrants in boat off Paphos

Cypriot coast guard on Thursday afternoon launched a rescue operation after a vessel carrying some 300 undocumented immigrants issued a distress signal off the coast of Paphos.

The Cypriot Defense Ministry said the signal was issued by a small boat some 50 nautical miles southwest of Paphos. The weather conditions in the area were said to be worsening, prompting authorities to immediately order a large-scale rescue operation involving vessels and aircraft.

According to sources, the 300 immigrants aboard the vessel are mostly women and children from Syria.