Rescue service brings bodies of 24 migrants to Tenerife
The bodies of 24 sub-Saharan migrants were brought ashore by the Spanish maritime rescue service on Wednesday evening.
They are believed to have died of thirst and hunger as they attempted to cross the west coast of Africa to the Canary Islands. Two of them were minors.
Their wooden boat was first spotted by a Spanish Air Force plane, drifting in the Atlantic Ocean some 265 nautical miles from El Hierro Island on Monday morning.
Rescuers said three people on board were still alive, but barely moving.
Two men and a woman in serious condition were airlifted by a military helicopter to the island of Tenerife.
Spanish Air Force rescuers told local media survivors said they spent 22 days at sea.
The deadly Atlantic Sea journey from the west coast of Africa to the Spanish archipelago has become a major route for migrants and asylum seekers fleeing conflict, violence and economic hardship exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic .
Some 4,000 people have reached the Canaries so far this year, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.
In 2020, at least 849 people are believed to have died or gone missing trying to reach the Canaries, while 23,000 have reached their destination according to the United Nations Migration Agency’s Missing Migrants Project.
But the true death toll is believed to be much higher.
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