Europe

52 migrants feared dead after boat capsizes off Spain’s Canary Islands

Fifty-two migrants are feared dead after a dinghy capsized off the coast of Spain”s Canary Islands.

A woman who is the sole survivor so far told Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service the boat had left Africa a week earlier carrying 53 migrants.

A merchant ship spotted the inflatable dinghy sinking in the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, 255 kilometres south of the islands.

Spanish emergency services arrived swiftly but found only one person alive at the scene.

The woman was left clinging to the sinking craft with a dead man and a dead woman next to her, a rescue service official said. She was brought ashore suffering from severe dehydration.

The survivor told rescuers that the boat had embarked from the Western Sahara coast and that the passengers were from Ivory Coast.

According to the NGO Caminando Sin Fronteras (Walking Without Borders), 35 men, 16 women, and one child would have died in the sinking, but no other bodies have been found.

So far this year, more than 7,500 migrants have made the dangerous crossing and arrived in the Canary Islands, more than twice as many as in the same period in 2020.

The United Nations International Organization for Migration reported that at least 250 migrants died on the route to the Spanish archipelago in the first six months of 2021.

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