Alva White/MSF
Maria is 6 years old traveling with her mother from Mali.

Her mother said "My husband died in Libya recently and decided to take the boat to Europe. My hope for my life in Italy? As long as there are not men with guns shooting, then I will be happy. You cannot sleep in Libya for fear of men with guns, young boys with guns, I am tired of it and want to get away from that. Libyan’s don’t like black people, they cover their faces when they are around black people. I have been living in Sabratha and then I was taken to Tripoli where we were prisoned for three months. A man helped me get out with my daughter. We hid and waited for the opportunity to take the boat."

Three hours of searching in total darkness with the MV Aquarius search lights zigzagging the black water and sky. “It’s like looking for a tiny needle in a haystack with a tiny torch” says MSF Project Coordinator Haynd Williams.

At around midnight the missing rubber boat came into vision and the rescue teams were able to make contact with the 125 people who had been drifting for over 20 hours with no food and little water.

On board there were 125 people, 29 of them were under 18, including small children under five and a 12-month-old baby.