Madrid, 11 July, 2023 (GNP): In a significant search operation, the Spanish coast guard rescued 86 people from a migrant boat off the coast of the Canary Islands.
The rescuers initially reported they had found one of three boats that have been missing for more than two weeks since they departed from Senegal. Later, the coast guard said the boat was a different vessel that they did not know about.
It indicates that the three boats carrying more than 300 people are still missing at sea.
On Monday afternoon, a search plane located a boat. The boat was spotted 71 miles (114 km) to the south of the island of Gran Canaria. It was carrying people from sub-Saharan Africa, according to a coast guard spokesperson.
Eighty men and six women were rescued, and the boat was taken toward Gran Canaria Island with the aid of a cargo ship, the spokesperson said.
However, the three missing vessels, the largest of which had about 200 people on board including many children, still has not been found as the search for them continues, sources said.
According to the sources, it is believed to have departed Senegal on June 27 and was traveling towards the Canary Islands.
Recently, one of the worst Mediterranean migrant shipwrecks occurred when an overloaded trawler capsized off the coast of Greece.
Although the UN estimated that up to 500 people were still missing, at least 78 drownings were documented.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the UN, at least 559 people died at sea in 2017 while trying to reach the Spanish islands.
Moreover, 15,682 persons entered the Canary Islands without a visa in 2022, according to Spain’s interior minister.