Two dead in Canaries migrant vessel tragedy

Two dead in Canaries migrant vessel tragedy

Spanish authorities rescued 38 people attempting the perilous sea journey to its Canary Islands from West Africa on March 11th, according to AP.

Two dead passengers were found upon reaching the vessel, which was spotted by a merchant ship 140km (87 miles) south of Gran Canaria.

Four survivors were evacuated by helicopter in critical condition, while the remaining 34 were transported by boat to the port of Arguineguín, according to Spain’s maritime rescue service. Among the survivors were seven women.

Spanish authorities have faced unprecedented levels of African migrants and refugees arriving to the archipelago as of late, attempting to reach Europe.

Almost 12,000 people fleeing poverty, conflict, and instability on the continent made it to the islands in the first two months of 2024, more than six times the number recorded during the same period of 2023, according to Spanish Interior Ministry figures.

The majority of would-be migrants set out from Mauritania’s coast on fishing boats called pirogues, navigating hazardous Atlantic winds and currents for several days. While thousands have survived the voyage, many have died or disappeared, sometimes washed far across the Atlantic.

READ: EU strikes migration deal with Mauritania

On August 16th, 2023, a vessel headed for the Canaries was found adrift near the Cape Verdean island of Sal, 300km (186 miles) off the maritime rout to its intended destination, according to AFP. Although 38 of its passengers rescued, 63 people are thought to have perished.

Spanish police told AP that two pirogues were also discovered near Cape Verde in recent weeks, after embarking for the Canaries. 11 people were rescued, though dozens are believed to have been lost at sea.



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