Two other people, including a six-year-old girl, are still missing after a boat carrying refugees stranded.
At least three people have died and two more, including a six-year-old girl, are missing after a boat carrying migrants and refugees ran aground on the rocky coast of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, Spain, local authorities announced.
The boat was approaching the shore of the village of Órzola on Thursday evening when it swung a few meters above land, throwing the passengers into the water.
Rescuers recovered the three bodies – two men and a woman – and rescued 41 people, including 19 women and seven children of sub-Saharan nationalities.
Rescue workers with a helicopter searched the coast around the northern Lanzarote region of Muelle de Orzola for the two missing on Friday morning.
Resident Marcos Lemes, who was the first on the scene and alerted emergency services, told Reuters he started pulling people out of the water after giving his phone to a boy for him. use it as a torch.
“I ran out of the house with two buoys that I keep at home and when I got there it was madness… I saw a lot of people on the reef.
A dozen of the rescued group, including two babies and two young children, were transferred to hospital, regional emergency services said.
The developments came as two other boats carrying a total of 110 people reached the other Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and El Hierro on Friday, according to regional emergency services.
So far this year, more than 5,700 people have made the perilous crossing from Africa to the Spanish archipelago, at least twice as many as the same period last year, which itself saw a eight-fold increase from 2019.
Restrictions on air travel and border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have partly contributed to the increase in traffic, which comes despite tighter controls to prevent crossings from the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
A record 850 people died in an attempt to cross the Atlantic last year, which suggested COVID-19 prompted many workers in industries, according to the United Nations Migration Agency. struggling such as fishing or farming to risk the trip.
So far this year, at least 130 people who attempted the crossing have died or are missing, according to the United Nations Migration Agency’s Missing Migrants Project. Only 58 bodies were found.
The actual toll is widely understood to be higher, as not all reports can be confirmed.
Meanwhile, with arrival facilities in the Canaries full to capacity, authorities have sheltered thousands of people in camps criticized by human rights groups for their conditions.