2 dead, 4 missing while 81 migrants rescued by Spain off the coast

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Two migrants have died and four others are missing following the rescue of 81 people aboard a boat off the Canary Islands, the Spanish coast guard said on Saturday.

They had encountered the struggling boat as they returned from a previous rescue.

After a long night at sea in bad weather, the Salvamento Maritimo lifeboat returned to the port of Arguineguin in Gran Canaria just after sunrise with 81 survivors and a body, while his rescue helicopter brought back another body. .

A Salvamento spokesman said the alert was issued on Friday about a boat in trouble about 150 nautical miles south of Gran Canaria, with the Guardamar Polimnia rescuing 46 sub-Saharan Africans, all men.

“When he was on his way back to Arguineguin, he found another one and as he approached to rescue the boat, the boat overturned and people fell into the water,” he said. he declared to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The lifeboat crew managed to bring 35 people to safety, all of them North Africans, but also found the body of a deceased person, while a rescue helicopter from Salvamento found another, found another. he declared.

“From those who were rescued, it appears that four other young people were lost at sea,” he said, indicating that searches in the area had found no trace of them.

“We woke up to the news of six dead in the Atlantic. May they rest in peace,” tweeted Helena Maleno, head of Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish non-governmental organization (NGO) that alerts the rescue services to the boats in difficulty at sea.

“The boat capsized just before the rescue: two bodies were recovered and four were swallowed by waves two meters (6.5 feet) high. Another 109 people are still at sea facing winds of up to 40 kilometers per hour (24.84 miles per hour). Their rescue must be a priority, ”she said, indicating that this figure included 17 women and six children.

“Strong winds destabilize the fragile boats in which they try to reach the Canary Islands.”

In the past two weeks, the bodies of at least 16 people who died trying to reach the Canary Islands have been found by Spanish rescuers, Coast Guard figures show, although the number does not include the people missing presumed drowned.

A similar number has died off the coast of Morocco in the past 10 days.

Among them, 14 people were found Monday, including three women and four girls, on a boat lost at sea for 18 days.

By mid-November, 18,021 people had reached the Canary Islands by boat this year, a number 10% higher than the same period last year.

But the Atlantic route is fraught with pitfalls and by the end of October some 900 people had died en route, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants project which described 2021 as “l deadliest year on the migratory route to Spain.

It is also a year of migrant crossings elsewhere, such as in the English Channel, which has seen a devastating wave of deaths with migrants in an irregular situation.

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