At least 35 people feared dead after dinghy sinks en route to Canary Islands - The Guardian

At least 35 people are feared to have drowned after an inflatable boat carrying up to 60 migrants and refugees sank while en route to the Canary Islands early on Wednesday morning.

The Spanish migration NGO Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) said 60 people were on the boat, of whom 39 were missing. Another migration NGO, Alarm Phone, put the number of people onboard at 59 and said 35 were missing.

Spain’s maritime rescue service said Moroccan authorities had rescued 24 people, while a Spanish helicopter had recovered one of two bodies that had been located.

[A spokesperson for Spain’s maritime rescue service] said 51 people had been rescued from another boat that had got into difficulty seven miles off the east coast of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, on Wednesday morning.

The two migration NGOs accused the Spanish and Moroccan authorities of failing to move quickly enough to help those onboard the inflatable boat.

“Having 60 people – among them six women and a baby – waiting for rescue for more than 12 hours on an unstable inflatable boat that could sink at any moment is torture,” said Helena Maleno, who leads Walking Borders.

According to Spain’s interior ministry, 5,914 people have reached the Canaries by boat so far this year – a 31.5% decrease on the same period last year.

Over recent years, conflict and instability, the climate crisis, border closures during the Covid pandemic and increased controls in some north African countries have led the gangs that ferry migrants and refugees between Africa and Europe to make greater use of the dangerous Atlantic route to the Canaries.

UN figures show 29,895 people reached Spain by sea last year, while 643 died in the attempt. In 2021, 41,979 people arrived by boat, with 418 dying in the attempt.

Meanwhile, more than 500 people are still missing, presumed dead, after a boat crammed with 750 people sank off the southern coast of Greece on 14 June.

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The Guardian

Locations: Canary Islands, Spain Lanzarote, Spain Spain Morocco 

Organizations: Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) Alarm Phone Spain Maritime Rescue Service United Nations 

Tags: Migration and Immigration Climate Change Mass Death 

Type: Headlines