BARCELONA (Agencies): At least more than 30 people are feared to have drowned in the sea Wednesday as a migrant dinghy carrying 59 people was on its way to Spain’s Canary Islands, according to two organisations focused on migrants.
The organisations — Walking Borders and Alarm Phone — said the dinghy was originally carrying 59 people on board.
Helena Maleno, head of Spain’s Walking Borders migrants charity wrote on Twitter that 39 people had drowned.
Alarm Phone, which focuses on supporting rescue operations in trans-Europe said on Twitter that 35 people were missing.
Earlier Wednesday, Alarm Phone reported the boat was taking on water and three passengers were dead, adding that “we demand immediate rescue, do not let them down!”
There has been no confirmation from Spain’s coastguard or the Moroccan authorities regarding the total number of on board the vessel or how many might be missing.
According to Reuters, the Spanish maritime rescue service said that a child had died and 24 people were rescued from the sinking dinghy in a Moroccan-led rescue operation carried out some 88 miles to the southeast of Gran Canaria island.
The body of one child was recovered by the Spanish maritime rescue service and sent by helicopter to Gran Canaria, a Spanish coastguard source said as Moroccan authorities are asking for their help.
The coastguard later tweeted that a second body had been found by a merchant ship, the Navios Azure, without giving more details.
“The dinghy had been begging for rescue in Spanish waters for more than twelve hours. Among the survivors, 24 people, 22 men, 2 women, are being transferred to Cap Boujdour,” Maleno of Walking Borders wrote on Twitter.
The Canary Islands — located off the coast of West Africa — has turned into a central destination for migrations that want to enter the European country Spain.
According to Spanish government figures, at least 5,914 people reached the Canary Islands between January 1 and June 15 this year.
The early seasons of the summer are regarded as a high time for the migrant influx desperate to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
A pregnant woman died this week onboard a dinghy as she tried to reach Spain.
Spain’s coastguard said Tuesday the woman’s body was found on a vessel carrying 42 men, seven women and three children near the Atlantic coast of Lanzarote.
“On Monday, another trawler spotted a migrant boat near Mogan, in Gran Canaria, with 53 people on board.”
“Three of them were in poor health,” the coastguard said.