COASTGUARD workers off the shores of Almería finally located a dinghy full of sub-Saharan would-be migrants in the early hours of yesterday (Friday) morning after searching for it all night.
They had been told of a craft run adrift around 13 miles off the island of Alborán, halfway between the Spanish mainland and the coast of Morocco, at around 17.10hrs on Thursday but were unable to locate it for several hours.
Once they found the craft in trouble, authorities rescued the 27 occupants, who included a baby of just a few months old.
The blow-up rubber boat was thought to have left the shores of Bouyafar in Morocco at around 06.00hrs on Thursday morning.
By the time it was found, overloaded and with engine failure and minutes away from sinking altogether, the 21 men, five women and baby on board were soaked through, exhausted, shivering with cold and terrified, the coastguard says.
One of the women was unconscious when the vessel was discovered, but once she was safely in the lifeboat, the coastguard managed to bring her round.
They were all given thermal blankets, food and hot drinks, and the Red Cross gave them a check-up when they arrived at Almería port.
None of them needed to be taken to hospital, not even the woman who had passed out.
Thousands of migrants have died in the past year making the dangerous crossing from northern Africa's shores to southern Mediterranean countries on unseaworthy or overcrowded boats.