TWO people have died after a Gibraltar police launch collided with a suspected drug smuggling launch early this morning.
Another two were being treated for their injuries in hospital under police guard while an investigation is carried out.
The incident occurred after the RGP Marine Interceptor chased a 14-metre semi-inflatable launch typically used for drug smuggling while working with Spanish police.
It was powered by four 300HP outboard engines, equipped with radar equipment and three Spanish and one Portuguese national on board.
“The Royal Gibraltar Police can confirm that the occupants of vessel include three Spanish males from Ceuta who appear to be of North African origin and a Portuguese man,” said the RGP.
“The high-speed pursuit arose after the suspect vessel was detected and challenged with carrying out illicit drugs trafficking activity.
“A Senior Investigating officer has been appointed and Post Incident Procedures have been implemented.
“Her Majesty’s Coroner has been informed and families of the deceased are being contacted.”
The two suspects arrested will now be processed for three charges after the sea chase ended in tragedy.
“In connection with this incident, two of the RHIB’s occupants received treatment for their injuries at St Bernard’s Hospital.
“They are currently in police custody following their arrest for Dangerous Navigation, Importing a Prohibited Import and Obstructing Police.”
This is the second occasion where someone has died since the RGP stepped up its anti-drug smuggling operation in cooperation with the Spanish police.