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Volunteer pilots comb the Mediterranean to rescue refugees

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The aircraft Benoit Micolon and his fellow pilot purchased on mission
The aircraft Benoit Micolon and his fellow pilot purchased on mission   -   Copyright  Pilotes Volontaires
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It's estimated that over half a million people have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe in the past two years alone and that at least 8,000 have died in the attempt. A group of French pilots has volunteered to help rescue those stranded at sea.

Benoit Micolon and his friend José Benavente used their own money to acquire this aircraft and modified it to extend its autonomy, allowing for longer missions above the Mediterranean Sea. So far their missions have been four hours long but they hope to extend their flight time to eight hours to be able to spot and pinpoint more boats so that other NGOs can rescue them.

"There are already some boats from NGOs in this area they try to rescue them. They are good for rescuing but they have limited capacity to observe and to find," Micolon explained to Euronews.

With the summer bringing a much higher number of migrants trying to cross into Europe, the volunteers plan to train more pilots in the future to allow for regular scouting missions across the Mediterranean.