Migrant paraglides over border fence into Spain

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MADRID (Reuters) – A migrant paraglided from Morocco over a border fence into Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla and eluded authorities, officials said on Thursday.

Two witnesses saw the paraglider drifting overhead while they were driving along the ring road surrounding the enclave and alerted police at 6:15 p.m. (1715 GMT), the Spanish government’s representative in Melilla said in a statement.

“Patrols immediately headed to the area, but were unable to locate the migrant,” the statement added.

Footage obtained by local newspaper El Faro appears to show a person harnessed to a paragliding canopy landing near the road that runs along two parallel border fences, which range between six metres (20 feet) and 10 metres in height and are 12 km (7.5 miles) long.

Reuters has not verified the video’s authenticity.

Melilla is one of the main entry points for migrants seeking to cross into European territory from Morocco. At least 1,155 undocumented migrants have crossed the land border this year until Oct. 15, according to Interior Ministry data.

The heavily guarded border is one of only two borders between the European Union and an African country, the other being Ceuta, also a Spanish enclave.

It was the site of a fatal mass crossing attempt in June, when up to 2,000 migrants stormed the fence and engaged in a two-hour skirmish with border officers.

(Reporting by David Latona; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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