BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Scores of migrants have been rescued from several boats near Spain’s Canary Islands, with 14 — many suffering from hypothermia — requiring hospitalization, authorities said Wednesday. A baby girl was in critical condition, while one person was reported to have died at sea and the body thrown overboard by other migrants.
Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service rescued the 84 passengers of two boats Wednesday, and 52 from one more late Tuesday, near the island of Gran Canaria. Another boat was spotted near the island of Lanzarote Wednesday and a rescue operation was under way.
Among the sub-Saharan Africans rescued Tuesday evening south of the island of Gran Canaria were 29 women and nine children in poor health. The group told rescuers they had been at sea in the Atlantic Ocean for five days. Upon disembarkation, Red Cross medics immediately performed resuscitating maneuvers on a baby girl, Iñigo Vila head of Red Cross Emergency Unit told the Associated Press.
The child was in critical condition and three other women in serious condition, the local health department said. In total nine children and five adults were hospitalized.
On Wednesday, another three migrant boats were spotted near the Canaries by Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service. A spokeswoman said passengers in one vessel that was found with 36 on board told rescuers that one more person had died during the journey and that they had thrown the corpse into the sea. Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service had previously received alerts for around 200 people on four different migrant boats. It was unclear whether the migrants rescued Tuesday and the ones found Wednesday were among those they had been searching for.
The Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean has become the main route for West African and Moroccan migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe. Around 2,600 people have survived the dangerous crossing and reached the Canaries by boat so far this year.
In 2020, some 23,000 people successfully crossed while 849 were reported dead or missing according to the U.N.’s migration agency “Missing Migrants Project.”
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