BY RENATA BRITO AND ARITZ PARRA, Associated Press

He lifted and dropped the leg a few times, with no reaction. A few moments passed. Suddenly the leg pulled back, and a young man emerged from the ashes — frightened and disoriented, but alive.

The Associated Press
In this image taken from video made available by the Guardia Civil, an officer of the Guardia Civil helps a man out from under glass bottles in a container in Melilla, Spain, Friday Feb. 19, 2021. Spanish authorities say they have found and rescued 41 migrants who tried to reach continental Europe from North Africa in the past four days, some of them hiding inside a container of discarded glass bottles and a bag of toxic ash. (Guardia Civil via AP)

The survivor was among 41 people found hiding amid cargo in Melilla’s port area on Friday, attempting to sneak aboard a ship that would take them across the Mediterranean Sea to mainland Spain.

Four of them were discovered buried in recycling containers beneath glass bottles, some broken with sharp edges.

With the help of search dogs and microphones to detect heartbeats, police often find people hiding amid the cargo, from containers to cement mixers. This year alone, the Civil Guard said it has identified 1,781 migrants trespassing in Melilla port’s security perimeter; last year, the number was 11,700.

Still, discoveries like those last week are unsettling for the most experienced officers.

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