Boy reported dead at sea in attempt to reach Canary Islands

GRAN CANARIA, Spain (AP) — Spanish rescuers reached a boat carrying over 30 migrants and brought them safely to the Canary Islands, but not in time to save one child who reportedly died at sea.

Rescuers said the small boat was discovered late Friday some 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Gran Canaria island. On board there were 11 men, 20 women and three children travelling in very poor conditions.

The survivors said a 9-year-old boy had died during the journey and they had tossed his body overboard.

Some 23,000 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands in 2020, up from some 3,000 in 2019, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry. More than 500 died in the attempt.

The people taking the boats are understood to be fleeing poverty, violence or other circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic, in African countries and elsewhere.

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