At least 35 individuals are believed to have tragically drowned in a devastating incident involving an inflatable boat carrying migrants and refugees en route to the Canary Islands. The boat, bound for the popular Spanish archipelago, was reportedly carrying a total of 60 people, according to the Spanish migration NGO Caminando Fronteras. However, the distress hotline organization, Alarm Phone, reported 59 people on board, with 35 still missing.
The Moroccan government sprang into action and successfully rescued 24 individuals from the treacherous waters, providing a glimmer of hope amidst the tragic circumstances. Additionally, a Spanish helicopter aided in the search and recovery efforts, managing to retrieve one lifeless body.
The Spanish maritime rescue service has launched a full-scale search operation in an attempt to locate and rescue any survivors still unaccounted for. However, due to the chaotic nature of the incident, authorities have been unable to determine the precise number of individuals missing. The estimated count provided by Caminando Fronteras suggests that the number could be as high as 39, while Alarm Phone’s data indicates 35 missing individuals.
In a separate incident, a vessel carrying 51 distressed persons was successfully rescued off the coast of Lanzarote. These two tragic events highlight the immense dangers and challenges faced by migrants and refugees attempting to make the perilous journey to the Canary Islands.
Several factors have contributed to the recent surge in migration attempts via the Atlantic route to the Canaries. Ongoing conflicts, the climate crisis, pandemic-related border closures, and tightened controls in certain North African nations have collectively driven individuals to undertake this dangerous voyage in search of a better life.
The perilous nature of these journeys was further emphasized when another vessel carrying 53 individuals was spotted near Mogán, Gran Canaria. Tragically, a pregnant woman lost her life aboard a dinghy bound for Spain, serving as a stark reminder of the human cost associated with these attempts to seek refuge and a better future.